Life in Kashmir On Freeze as Shutdown Continues

Shutdown In Kashmir (Photo: Abid Bhat / KO)

SRINAGAR –  Students stayed away from schools, markets remained shut and public transport stayed off the roads in the valley on Thursday as the shutdown over the Centre’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status continued, officials said.

Classes were not held in most schools across Kashmir as students did not turn up due to the prevailing situation, they said.

The officials said the state government is trying its best to ensure that schools function normally but its efforts have not borne fruit as most parents continue to keep their children at home due to apprehensions about their safety.

Main markets and other business establishments in the valley remained closed. Only the stalls of a few vendors at the TRC Chowk-Lal Chowk road were open, they said.

Public transport largely stayed off the roads. Few inter-district cabs and autorickshaws were seen plying in some areas of the city, the officials said.

The movement of private cars was unhindered, they added.

Normal life in the valley has remained crippled since August 5, when the Centre revoked Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and announced the decision to bifurcate the state into two Union Territories.

Restrictions imposed by the government were lifted in phases. However, the normal life in Kashmir continues to be disrupted due to the shutdown.

The officials said there are no restrictions in the valley but security forces continue to be deployed in vulnerable areas to maintain law and order.

Mobile services remain suspended in Kashmir except in Handwara and Kupwara areas in the north while internet services continue to be snapped across all platforms in the valley, they said.

Most of the top-level and second-rung separatist politicians have been taken into preventive custody while mainstream leaders, including two former chief ministers — Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — have been either detained or placed under house arrest.

Another former chief minister and sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah has been arrested under the controversial Public Safety Act, a law enacted by his father and National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1978 when he was the chief minister.  (PTI)

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