India says Kashmir improving but restrictions stay

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s home minister said yesterday that normalcy has returned in most areas in Kashmir but the detention of politicians and the blockade of the Internet and social media were continuing because of security concerns.

Home Minister Amit Shah said offices and businesses are open and there is no shortage of medicine, food and fuel.

Asked by lawmakers in Parliament how soon the restrictions are likely to be lifted, Shah said authorities have to fix priorities when it comes to security and the fight against terrorism.

India stripped the region of its semi-autonomous powers and implemented a strict clampdown on August 5. It sent tens of thousands of extra troops to the region and detained thousands of people.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, a lawmaker representing the main opposition Congress party, said the suspension of Internet services for more than three months was unprecedented anywhere in the world.

But Shah said that the law and order situation had improved with no one killed in police firing since Kashmir’s status was changed from a state to a federally-administered Union Territory in August.