To explain contradictions in Kashmir, Supreme Court judge leans on ‘Tale of Two Cities’

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions against the restrictions imposed in the Kashmir valley since August 5, 2019.
Restrictions were imposed in the Kashmir valley after abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019.(AP Photo)
Restrictions were imposed in the Kashmir valley after abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019.(AP Photo)
Updated on Aug 22, 2020 04:25 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent

The Supreme Court on Friday made it clear that internet is a fundamental right under Article 19 of the Constitution, and asked the government to review curbs in place in Jammu and Kashmir for over five months now.

Justice NV Ramana, who read out the judgement, referred to English writer Chares Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ while giving his observation about the situation in Kashmir.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only,” Justice Ramana said before reading out the judgement.

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“Although cherished in our heart as a ‘Paradise on Earth’, the history of this beautiful land is etched with violence and militancy. While the mountains of Himalayas spell tranquillity, yet blood is shed every day,” he further said.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions against the restrictions imposed in the Kashmir valley since August 5, 2019, when Article 370 was nullified and the state lost its special status and was turned in a union territory. The petitioners said these restrictions were against the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

The government had, meanwhile, said that these curbs are needed to prevent any untoward incident in the valley.

“In this land of inherent contradictions, these petitions add to the list, wherein two sides have shown two different pictures which are diametrically opposite and factually irreconcilable,” Justice Ramana said on Friday.

Many leaders, including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, were also put under house arrest. Though some curbs have been released in the last 160 days, the leaders still remain under detention.

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Monday, October 18, 2021