No civilian casualties, pellet guns used to quell protests, admits J-K Governor

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik, addressing his first press conference after the Centre announced its move on August 5, also told reporters that 50 more degree colleges will be opened and 50,000 jobs will be available in the next three months.
No civilian casualties, pellet guns used to quell protests, admits J-K Governor

New Delhi

Asserting that the Narendra Modi's government decision to abrogate Article 370 was for the betterment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday said the administration was "not hiding" the figures of the "deaths" in the Kashmir Valley as no lives have been lost.
Malik underlined that the government's objective is to work maximum for the people so that in the long term people realize that it was indeed done for their benefit.
Malik said: "Every Kashmiri life is valuable to us, we don't have loss of even a single life." He said there has been no civilian casualties, and "only the few who got violent are injured".
He admitted that pellet guns were used by security personnel during protests in the Kashmir Valley and said forces took utmost precaution taken to prevent injuries.
"Those who are injured have below the waist injuries," he said, adding how can his administration hide any data on deaths when everyday, teams from the Centre are coming to meet him.
'Restrictions necessary to prevent civilian casualties, Internet more useful to terrorists and Pakistan for mobilisation, indoctrination'
Asserting that the identity and culture of people of Jammu and Kashmir will be preserved, Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday said restrictions after the abrogation of Article 370 were necessary to prevent any civilian causalities.
The Internet is a handy tool for anti-national elements and the restoration of connections will be deferred for some more time, Malik said.
Internet and phone services have been shut because these are more useful to terrorists and Pakistan for mobilisation of people and indoctrination of youths, Jammu and Kashmir Governor said on Wednesday, indicating that the services will continue to remain suspended for some more time.
Announcing that the government was opening mobile phone connectivity in Kupwara and Handwara districts, he said: "And soon we will open connectivity in other districts as well."
"The medium of Internet is little bit useful for us but more useful for terrorists, Pakistanis. It is also used to mobilise and for indoctrination," Malik said.
"This is kind of a weapon against us that is why we have stopped it and we will restore it gradually," he said.
The government snapped landline and mobile phone and Internet services hours before the Centre announced its move on August 5.
Authorities have eased restrictions on the movement of people in most areas, Malik said.
"We will probably be opening Internet a little late which people will have to bear because that is the most dangerous instrument. Entire lie is spread using that medium," Malik said.
He said landline telephones have been restored in 46 out of 96 exchanges and mobile phone services will be relaxed as the situation improves
'Those who will go to jail, will become leaders'
The more politicians spend time in jail, the more political dividends they are likely to accrue -- was how Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik sought to justify the detention of mainstream politicians after the abrogation of the state's special status under Article 370 of the Constitution.
Malik was asked about the continued detention of three former chief ministers -- Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti -- and other politicians and a timeline for their release.
"Don't you want that people should become leaders. I have gone to jail 30 times. Those who will go to jail, will become leaders. Let them be there. The more they spend time in the jail, the more they will claim during elections...that I have spent six months behind bars...
"So if you sympathise with them, do not be sad over detention. And they all are in their homes. I was jailed in Fatehgarh during the Emergency where it used to take two days to reach. If someone is detained in any issue, if he is wise, he will take political benefit. I am wishing them well," the governor said.
While senior Abdullah is at his home, his son Omar has been kept at Hari Niwas and Mehbooba is at Chesmashahi hut. The other politicians have been kept at Centaur Hotel located on the banks of Dal Lake.
'Govt decision is for betterment of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh'
Backing the idea of revoking Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories, he said: "Government's decision is for the betterment of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh."
Malik underlined that the government's objective is to work maximum for the people so that in the long term people realize that it was indeed done for their benefit.
"J&K and Ladakh will see so much of development in the coming days that people in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir will also start asking for the same kind of development," he said. He said that about 50,000 government jobs will be announced soon and 50 more degree colleges will be opened. This will be the largest recruitment drive in the state, he said. The Centre, he said, will soon make a 'big' announcement on Jammu and Kashmir.
(With inputs from IANS)

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