Day 120: Markets Open For Longer Hours, Sans Internet

(Photo - Abid Bhat / KO )

SRINAGAR - Life is slowly limping back to normal in the Kashmir valley, where internet and pre-paid mobile service remained snapped since August 5, when centre scrapped Article 370 and 35 A, besides downgraded the state and divided it into two Union Territories (UTs).

Meanwhile, there was still no relief for the leaders of separatist organizations and mainstream political parties, including three former Chief Ministers of Dr Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti besides ex-ministers and legislators detained since August 5.

Life is limping back to normal in the Kashmir valley, including summer capital of UT J&K, Srinagar, where shops and business establishments were functioning in the morning before closing again in the afternoon.

After observing spontaneous strike for about three months against scrapping of special status of the state, shops and business establishments are functioning for four to five hours in the morning for the past one month. However, due to cold in the morning, shops are now opening late in the morning and closing in the afternoon.

Large number of security forces remained deployed in Srinagar to prevent any untoward incident.

Similar reports were also received from other parts of the Kashmir valley.

Good number of public transport, including the buses and other vehicles of State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) , are now plying almost on all routes normally.  Cabs, passenger buses and other vehicles besides private cars and two wheelers are now hitting the road since morning till late in the night, leading to frequent traffic jam on busy routes. However, schools and university buses remained off the roads.

Attempt to set shops ablaze in Srinagar averted, third incident in as many nights

A fire in a posh market here was narrowly averted in the dead of night, the latest in a series of mysterious incidents in the city, officials said on Monday, suspecting that shop owners who have defied an undeclared shutdown against the abrogation of Article 370 are being targeted.

Late on Sunday night, an inflammable substance was sprinkled on a few shops in Lambert Lane market on Residency Road but alert residents of the building foiled the attempt to set the shops on fire, officials said.

"Late on Sunday night, we noticed smell of petrol around the building and we quickly went downstairs to check. There was no one around, but the fuel had been sprinkled on a few shops," said a resident of the building, who preferred to remain anonymous. We informed the market association members who in turn alerted the police, he said.

This was the third such instance in as many nights as miscreants carried out similar acts at Budshah Chowk, right in front of the highly guarded Akhara Building on Saturday night, and at Goni Khan near Hari Singh High Street, the night earlier.

A senior police official said the incidents are being investigated and strict action will be taken against those found involved in these acts.

There have been several mysterious fire incidents in the city, in which shops have been destroyed or partially damaged during the night, after the abrogation of Article 370 provisions on August 5.

While most of the targeted shops have been in the areas where markets were open beyond the self-imposed deadline of noon closure to protest the repeal of special status of Jammu and Kashmir, police has so far maintained that the fires were caused by electric short circuit.

Militants had carried out a grenade attack in the busy Goni Khan market last month that had left two persons dead and more than 30 others injured.

A shopkeeper was shot dead in Parimpora area of the city while five members of a family were shot at and injured in Sopore area of north Kashmir since August 5. Both the attacks were linked to the victims defiance of the shutdown 'diktat'.

Meanwhile, most of the schools in the city started normal operations from Monday as buses carrying students could be seen plying on the roads early in the morning.

Barring the internet clampdown in the valley, life has returned almost to normal after remaining disturbed for nearly four months following the landmark move by the Centre in August.

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