New Delhi: A top Home Ministry official on Tuesday asserted that decision on easing restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir will be taken by local authorities and not by the Centre. “The choice is between the inconvenience of restrictions and loss of lives. Our concern is to ensure the safety of citizens in Kashmir,” the official reportedly said.

Officials in MHA said that this is not the first time that large scale restrictions have been imposed in the Valley. “After the killing of Burhan Wani in 2016, so many people lost their lives due to relentless protest. Then restrictions were imposed which continued for months. This time we have taken preventive steps to minimise violence and loss of lives,” a leading portal quoted a home ministry official as saying.

On being asked when the restrictions will be lifted completely, the official said,”These decisions are not taken by Centre. They taken at local and district levels. The situation varies from place to place depending on the assessment by the district administration. Till now, they (J&K administration) have done well. So the trade-off is between inconvenience and loss of life.”

He also expressed disappointment over the way things are being reported by the media. “Why use bombastic language like clampdown, lockdown? Hurriyat used to lock down the city of Srinagar often, it got sympathy,” the official stated.

He added,”The administration is taking great pains to ensure life is eased even during restrictions. We must not just look at the inconvenience caused by restrictions but also the situation in its totality.”

Earlier in the day, the Jammu and Kashmir administration had hinted at easing of restrictions at the soonest. Addressing a presser, J&K Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal had said,”We are following an overall policy of relaxation and easing out. Prohibitory conditions have been further relaxed in parts of Kashmir, while Jammu is almost entirely free of restrictions.”

“The restrictions will be further relaxed after full dress rehearsals for Independence Day in all districts,” he added.

Notably, normalcy has been crippled in Valley due to heavy security deployment, restrictions on movement and curtailing of communication links after the Centre revoked Article 370 of Indian Constitution and moved a bill proposing bifurcation of J&K into two UTs– Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh.