New Delhi: Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha on Friday countered Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s claims of normalcy in the Kashmir Valley post the abrogation of Article 370, saying that the situation was ‘far from normal’ and credited the people, rather than the government or the security forces, for the ‘normalcy’ that could be seen in the region.

The former BJP leader arrived in Srinagar for a four-day visit, concluding November 25, to assess the ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir. He is leading a civil society delegation also comprising former Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak, former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, and journalists Bharat Bhushan and Sushoba Bharve.

Speaking to reporters, Sinha, who in recent times has been a vocal critic of the Narendra Modi government, said, “The situation is far from normal as all shops are closed. How can you even call it normalcy?”

Home Minister Amit Shah, speaking in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, had said, “Situation in the Valley is absolutely normal. There is medicine. Schools are open. There has been no death in police firing since August 5.” Reacting to this, Sinha, whose earlier attempt to visit the Valley, in September, was unsuccessful, said, “Credit for whatever peace is there, goes to the people and neither the government nor the security forces.”

Sinha further said that he had spoken to former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, who has been detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA), and said that he will now request the authorities to meet the National Conference (NC) chief. He also said that he spoke to CPI(M) leader MY Tarigami and added that he would also try to meet detained former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.

In an unprecedented development, the Centre, on August 5, revoked Article 370 of the Constitution, thus scrapping the special status to Jammu and Kashmir, which was further bifurcated into two separate union territories (UTs) of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

J&K, and Ladakh became UTs on October 31.