India claims easing Occupied Kashmir restrictions 'in phased manner'

By AFP
Published: August 13, 2019
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People in IOK could still not be reached by phone and the internet still appeared to be inaccessible till today's afternoon. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

People in IOK could still not be reached by phone and the internet still appeared to be inaccessible till today's afternoon. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

NEW DELHI: The Modi government said on Tuesday that it is easing its lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) in a “phased manner” after cutting phone and internet access for over a week to prevent protests over its decision to end the disputed region’s autonomy.

India cut communications and imposed a curfew in the sector of the Himalayan valley on August 4, a day before its surprise presidential decree to strip the Muslim-majority region of its special status.

An Indian home ministry spokesperson said on Twitter that the restrictions “are being eased out in a phased manner” in the tinderbox valley.

Normal communication in the ‘more peaceful Jammu division’ of the region “has been restored after assessment by relevant local authorities”, the spokesperson added.

There was no independent confirmation of the easing of restrictions.

On Tuesday afternoon people in Occupied Kashmir could still not be reached by phone and the internet still appeared to be inaccessible.

The spokesperson claimed that medical services are being provided “without any hindrance” and the availability of medicines has “been ensured” in every hospital in IOK.

A main highway through the region “continues to function normally”, with 100 heavy vehicles “plying daily” carrying fuel and other essentials.

Earlier, Attorney General KK Venugopal told India’s Supreme Court security appeared to be improving in Occupied Kashmir.

“The situation in Occupied J&K [Jammu & Kashmir] is being reviewed every day and there are signs of improvement,” Venugopal said, as the court heard a plea by a political activist against the lockdown.

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