POST TIME: 22 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 22 November, 2019 12:26:47 AM
India claims ‘total normalcy’ in Kashmir as 600 in custody
AFP, new Delhi

India claims ‘total normalcy’ in Kashmir as 600 in custody

"Total normalcy" prevails in Kashmir, India's home minister said Wednesday even as the government said 600 people remained in custody since the region, cut off from the internet, was stripped of its autonomy in August. "Petrol, diesel, kerosene, LPG (liquid petroleum gas) and rice are adequately available," Amit Shah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right-hand-man, told India's upper house the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi.

"The situation there was always normal. There were many notions spread all over the world. There is total normalcy prevailing," Shah said. Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority state, has been divided with Pakistan since independence in 1947, and has been the spark of two wars and numerous flare-ups between the two nuclear-armed foes.

An anti-India insurgency in the part of Kashmir that India administers — it has several hundred thousand troops there — has left tens of thousands of people dead over the past 30 years, most of them civilians.

India blames the insurgency on Pakistan.

On August 5, Modi’s Hindu nationalist government moved to revoke the state’s special status, sending in tens of thousands of extra troops, imposing a curfew, snapping telecommunications and arresting several thousand people.

Hundreds of people are known to remain in custody three and a half months later, among them dozens of local politicians including three former chief ministers of Kashmir, some of them in locations around India and many without charge.