Day 46: Uncertainty Prevails, Normal Life Remains Suspended

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Photo: Abid Bhat / KO

SRINAGAR – Normal life remained disrupted on Thursday with markets and commercial establishments shut and educational institutions deserted for the 46th day running.

However, shops which were functioning from 0600 hrs to 0900 hrs in Srinagar, including in city centre for the past few days were closed on Thursday after some national television channels showed the footage and declared that ‘life has returned to normal in Lal Chowk and adjoining areas’.

Public transport remained off the roads. However there were reports of sporadic incidents of private vehicles being targeted during evening hours in many parts of the city by small groups of people roaming the streets. At least one vehicle was reportedly set on fire in the city outskirts, one report said.

An official said, authorities have taken note of these incidents and follow up action has been taken.

Reports said in some areas of Srinagar some of the shops open for few hours early in the morning, but remain shut during the day.

The efforts of the state government to open schools have not borne any fruit as parents continued to keep children at home due to apprehensions about their safety.

Students also continue to stay away from universities and colleges. Now some private schools have started providing assignments and video tutorials to students for home study.

Internet services also remained suspended across all platforms.

While landlines are functional, voice calls on mobile devices, according to police are working in Kupwara and Handwara police districts of north Kashmir.

While there has been no formal announcement of lifting of Section 144 imposed on the eve of August 5, most areas of the valley are apparently restrictions-free. However the deployment of paramilitary forces in strength continued on the ground across Kashmir.

Reports received here said that business and other activities remained crippled in south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian.  There was also no change in the situation in Kupwara, Baramulla, Bandipora, Pattan, Sopore, Handwara and Ajas in north. Reports of shutdown were also received from central Kashmir districts of Ganderbal and Budgam.

Restrictions were first imposed across Kashmir on August 5 when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate the state into two Union territories. The restrictions were lifted in phases from many parts of the valley as the situation improved with the passage of time.

Tighter Restrictions Likely Today

Tighter restrictions will be in force on Friday as authorities apprehend that the large gatherings at big mosques and shrines may turn into protests.

Friday prayers have not been allowed at any of the major mosques or shrines – including Jamia Masjid or Dargah Sharief in Hazratbal – in the valley for the past over a month now.


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