Kashmir shutdown crushes life a day after J&K became UT

Indian policemen stand guard on a road in Srinagar. (Photo by Reuters)

A day after Jammu and Kashmir formally became union territory, life continued to remain paralyzed across the Valley on Friday with authorities disallowing congregational Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid in Srinagar for the 13th consecutive week.

Police and paramilitary CRPF personnel wearing riot gears remain deployed in strength across Srinagar city to thwart any protests. There was thin movement of traffic throughout the day in the city with people preferring to stay indoors. Most of the shops remained closed across the city, reports said.
Authorities yet again disallowed the mandatory Friday prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid in old city Srinagar. "All the four gates of Jamia Masjid remained locked for the 13th consecutive Friday,” reports said. Authorities have barred all the prayers at the grand Masjid since August 5.

The restrictions across Kashmir were imposed on August 5, when the Parliament abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcated the erstwhile State into two union territories. After the improvement in situation, the restrictions were lifted gradually but continued on Fridays to thwart post-Friday prayer protest.

Most of the political leaders in Kashmir, including three former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti continue to remain under detention.

Though post-paid mobile services were restored in Kashmir on October 14 after a gap of 70-days, prepaid mobile facility and internet services are yet to restored in Kashmir. Intra-Kashmir train services also remain suspended since August 5. 

On Thursday Girish Chandra Murmu was sworn in as first lieutenant governor (LG) of Jammu and Kashmir as the erstwhile state was officially bifurcated into UTs. The bifurcation of the erstwhile state took place in the atmosphere of lingering stalemate. 

People’s discontent in Kashmir is simmering against the Centre's decision following communication clampdown and restrictions, coupled with a shift in strategy by militants, who have now started killings truck drivers, laborers and apple traders from outside the Valley.

The constitutional changes – revoking J&K’s autonomy under Article 370, separate citizenship law under Article 35A and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two UTs, were approved by the parliament in the first week of August.

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