New Delhi: Junaid Azim Mattu, mayor of Srinagar and spokesperson J&K People’s Conference (JKPC) hit out at Narendra Modi-led government and said that it would be ‘highly unrealistic’ to presume that normalcy has returned to the Valley.

The Srinagar Mayor, who has been given status equivalent to ‘Minister of State’ (Mos) following a Centre’s order last month, claimed that government’s decision to withdraw the special status of Jammu and Kashmir had caused an ‘existential crisis’ across the region.  He asserted that his party has filed a petition in the Supreme Court to challenge the Centre’s move on J&K.

Mattu also criticised the strict restrictions have been imposed in J&K for one month. He claimed that a number of families haven’t been able to communicate with their loved ones. Furthermore, he lambasted the government over its decision to put mainstream politicians in Kashmir under arrest.

Notably, JKPC chief Sajjad Lone was also among the arrested leaders. “Over the years, political activists in Kashmir have braved threats and violence by terrorist elements to survive in the mainstream. But today, they are hunted and hounded,” a leading portal quoted the mayor as saying.

His statement comes a day after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar defended the restrictions in the Valley  and asserted that communication blockade was needed to stop the activation of ‘terrorist assets’.

In an interview with Politico newspaper in Brussels, the Union minister had claimed that it was impossible to stop communications between terrorists without an overall impact on the Valley.

“It wasn’t possible to stop communications between militants without an impact on all of Kashmir. How do I cut off communication between the terrorists and their masters on the one hand, but keep the internet open for other people? I would be delighted to know,” Jaishankar added.