NEW DELHI : More than three months after the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, Union home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday told Parliament that normalcy had been restored in the valley.

Shah’s remarks in the Rajya Sabha follow Opposition condemnation of the detention of Kashmiri political leaders. Although some of them have been released over the last month, veteran Kashmiri leaders and former J&K chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti continue to remain in preventive detention.

While the government has restored essential services in the valley, it is yet to take a call on restoring internet and data services.

“As far as internet services are concerned, the decision can be taken by the Jammu and Kashmir authorities. There are activities by Pakistan, too, in Kashmir region, so keeping security in mind, whenever the local authority deems it fit, a decision will be taken," Shah said, adding that all Urdu and English-language newspapers and TV channels were fully functional in the region, along with banks, government offices and courts. In addition, the Centre —in a mark of restoration of democracy—conducted block development council elections last month, recording 98.3% polling.

Watch video: ‘Normalcy has been restored in J&K’: Amit Shah in Rajya Sabha

Shah hit out at the Opposition, which has been alleging violations of human rights and civil liberties.

“After 5 August not even a single person has died in police firing. People in this House were predicting bloodshed, but I am happy to inform that no one has died in police firing. Incidents of stone pelting have declined. I challenge (Congress leader) Ghulam Nabi Azad to counter these facts which I presented," he said.

Shah also said that the National Register of Citizens will be a nationwide exercise. “Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, Christian, Parsi refugees should get citizenship and that is why the citizenship amendment bill is needed, so that these refugees who are being discriminated on the basis of religion in Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan, get Indian citizenship," Shah said, adding, “All citizens of India irrespective of religion will figure in the NRC list."

shaswati.d@livemint.com


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