SRINAGAR – Normalcy was slowly returning with more and more shops reopening everyday and good number of vehicles hitting the streets in Kashmir valley, where prepaid mobile and internet service of all cellular companies remained suspended since August 5, when Article 370 and Article 35 A were scrapped and the state was divided into two Union Territories (UTs).
Meanwhile, train service between Baramulla and Banihal was nearing normalcy on Monday after the service was resumed on Srinagar-Banihal track on Sunday.
A police official said there was no curfew restriction in any part of the valley on Monday. However, restrictions under Section 144 CrPC, prohibiting assemble of four or more persons, continued as a precautionary measure in the valley.
But, all gates of the historic Jamia Masjid remained closed since August 5. However, Jamia market reopens for few hours in the morning only to be closed in the noon though Central Armed Paramilitary Force (CAPF) remained deployed in strength in the area to prevent protests. Friday prayers have not been allowed since August 5 in Jamia Masjid, stronghold of Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is currently under house arrest.
Many shops in the city, particularly in uptown and civil lines, including Lal Chowk, remained open throughout the day on Monday. A heavy rush of traffic, including cabs and other passenger vehicles, besides private vehicles, continued to ply on majority roads in the city.
Most shops and business establishments reopened this morning in Srinagar, including in uptown, civil lines and downtown. However, after functioning for about three hours from 0900 hrs, everything again came to halt as shopkeepers closed their establishments and left for home.
A report from Anantnag said business and other activities remained partially affected in this and other district and tehsil headquarters of south Kashmir on Monday. “Many shops remained open throughout the day in main Anantang town. Private vehicles were seen plying on the roads but passenger traffic remained off the roads. Some cabs were also seen plying to different district routes. But, life remained affected in Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama.
Life remained partially affected due to strike in this and other north Kashmir towns, a report from Baramulla said on Monday. Traffic was off the roads though good number of vehicles were seen plying on different routes in the district, where additional security forces are deployed at sensitive places to prevent any law and order problem.
Similar reports were also received from central Kashmir districts of Ganderbal and Budgam, where life was limping back to normal.
Trains to run till 1500 hrs
The railway service on Baramulla-Banihal track was nearing normalcy with six trains running on the tracks between 1000 hrs to 1500 hrs in Kashmir valley, where the service was suspended for 105 days due to security reasons post abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35 A.
“The trains were on Monday running normally on Srinagar-Banihal and Srinagar-Baramulla tracks,” a railway official told UNI.
He said six trains will run between Baramulla and Banihal on Monday. However, he said trains will run only between 1000 hrs to 1500 hrs due to security reason.
The service on Srinagar to Banihal in Jammu region via central and south Kashmir was resumed on Sunday, a day after successfully conducting trial run on Saturday. However, only one train ran on Sunday on the track in the afternoon.
A senior Railway police official said that all security arrangements are in place. “Railway police and district police and other security agencies are working in close coordination to provide proper security to passengers,” he said.
Train service on Srinagar-Badgam-Baramulla in north Kashmir track was resumed on November 12.
Train service was suspended as a precautionary measure from Baramulla in north Kashmir to Banihal in Jammu region via central and south Kashmir on August 5, when centre scrapped Article 370 and 35 A besides downgraded the state and divided it into two Union Territories (UTs).
Since there was no major untoward incident and following improvement in the situation, the Divisional administration in Kashmir directed railway department to start the suspended train service from November 11.
However, railway department conducted trail run on November 11 on Srinagar-Badgam-Baramulla in north Kashmir and finally started train service from November 12. The number of passengers who availed the train service was very less as compared to before August 5.
Due to suspension of the train service, the railway department has suffered a loss of over Rs three crore.
Train service is very popular in the valley as it is being considered very economic, safe and fast against other mode of transport.
Internet have been used to radicalize people: Jai Shankar
Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar Monday said that over the past 30 years, 40,000 people have lost their lives due to violence and militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the state’s autonomy served only a small elite.
“It prevented many of India’s progressive laws from coming into force, stalling investments and job creation, leading ultimately to alienation and separatism, which in turn fed militancy”.
On prevailing communications restrictions, Jaishankar said the social media and the internet have been used to radicalize people. ‘We want to prevent the loss of life, he said.
He accused Pakistan of running militant industry. “The country openly runs a militant industry. Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks openly about it and acknowledges that he has a militant problem.”
Petrol bomb hurled at a footwear shop in Srinagar
Unknown persons hurled a petrol bomb at a footwear shop in old Srinagar city.
The incident occurred at Gretabal area of Nawakadal Srinagar.
Official sources told Kashmir News Trust that the shop belonged to one Bilal Ahmed. There was no loss of property in the attack. (With Inputs From Agencies)