SRINAGAR – Normal life remained affected in Kashmir for the 68th consecutive day on Friday as main markets continued to be shut and public transport off the roads, officials said.
The Kashmir valley has been witnessing continuous shutdown since August 5 when the Centre revoked the state’s special status under Article 370 and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.
Additional forces have been deployed in vulnerable areas of Kashmir including the Srinagar city to maintain law and order in view of the congregational prayers, they said, adding there were no restrictions in the city or elsewhere in the valley.
However, authorities have been imposing restrictions in vulnerable areas of the valley every Friday, apprehending that vested interests might exploit the large gatherings at big mosques and shrines to fuel protests.
Friday prayers have not been allowed at any of the major mosques or shrines in the valley for the past over two months now.
The officials said main markets and other business establishments in Kashmir remained shut, even as few vendors had set up stalls on the TRC Chowk-Lal Chowk road here.
Private transport was plying unhindered in Srinagar and other districts across the valley, they said, adding the number of private vehicles was far lesser than Thursday.
Mobile services remained suspended in Kashmir except in Handwara and Kupwara areas in the north since the night of August 4, the officials said.
Internet services — across all platforms also continued to be snapped in the valley, they said.
Students continued to stay away from schools and colleges, they added.
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.