Life started normally in the summer capital, Srinagar and all other major towns of the Valley on Monday as people thronged markets, banks and workplaces. Law enforcing agencies, though, were alert and on their toes.
Educational institutions opened normally, as scores of school buses carrying children started dotting the roads in the morning. Parents eagerly waited at bus stops to see their children off to school.
Interestingly, to make up for the time lost because of the disturbed law and order situation over the last one month, some private schools have decided to keep their institutions open on Sundays too.
Even markets which usually remain closed on Sundays, remained open on March 17.
Authorities, however, have little reason for complacency. Separatists have been issuing schedules of protests on a weekly basis, asking people to observe shutdowns.
The calendar of protests is issued by the United Coordination Committee of various separatist groups called the Muttahida Majlis-e-Mushawarat (MMM).
A marked difference, however, between the protests of 2010 and now, is that the shutdown calls these days are restricted to just one day a week.
In 2010, continuous and uninterrupted shutdowns during the summer months had generated a backlash among the people. Despite stone-pelting incidents and the threat of being caught in clashes between security forces and unruly mobs wielding stones, parents chose to send their children to schools and colleges this time.
In the wake of Afzal Guru’s hanging on February 9, separatist groups have launched a campaign to mount pressure on the government for returning the mortal remains of Guru to his family in Kashmir. Guru was buried in Tihar Central Jail.