RAMGARH (JHARKHAND) – Army chief General Bipin Rawat reaffirmed on Wednesday that people were moving around freely in the Kashmir valley and those claiming that there was a shutdown were the ones whose survival depended on militancy.
He was interacting with reporters after presenting President’s colours to 29th and 30th battalions of the Punjab Regiment here.
“Normal life in Jammu and Kashmir has not been affected. People are doing their necessary work, a clear sign that work has not been stopped and people are freely moving around. Those who feel that life has been affected are the ones whose survival depends on terrorism,” he said.
Rawat said brick kilns were functioning normally, trucks were transporting sand and shops were open, reflecting that life was normal in the valley.
The Army chief deflected a question about whether there was tension along the Line of Control, saying people were facing trouble because of Tuesday’s earthquake in Pakistan controlled Kashmir (PcK).
A powerful 5.8-magnitude earthquake had hit PcK on Tuesday, killing at least 26 people and injuring over 300 others.
The Army had on Tuesday released aerial photos and a video captioned “loading of apples, work in progress in fields and people moving on with life” in Jammu and Kashmir.
Restrictions, particularly with regard to communications, are in force in several parts of the valley since August 5, the day the Centre stripped the state of its special status and decided to reorganise it into two Union Territories.
Rawat had on Monday rejected claims of a clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir and asserted that it was a facade put up by militants to project a false picture of “harsh measures” to the outside world.
In reality, violence and killings were down and terrorists were being kept at bay, he had said in Chennai, insisting while communication lines were through for people, there was a breakdown for handlers of militants in Pakistan and their associates in the valley. (PTI)