Restrictions eased in Kashmir for I-Day celebrations

Kashmiri men wait before Eid-al-Adha prayers during restrictions after the scrapping of the special constitutional status for Kashmir by the Indian government, in Srinagar, August 12, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

With situation by-and-large remaining peaceful, authorities on Wednesday eased restrictions in Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir with Jammu and Kashmir government gearing up for Independence-Day functions in the Union Territory (UT).

Principal Secretary Planning and Development and government spokesperson Rohit Kansal said that overall situation in Kashmir remained calm due to which "further relaxation in prohibitory orders" were given in many areas.

"Few minor localized incidents were reported from a few places which have been dealt at local level," Kansal, who was flanked by Additional Director General Police (ADGP) Law and Order Muneer Khan, told reporters here.

Briefing the media, Khan said,"in Jammu division the restrictions have been completely lifted with schools and other business establishments functioning normally there."

About Kashmir situation, he said, "it is for district magistrates and other concerned officials to assess the situation in their areas for maintaining the law and order."

"At this time, the main focus of the administration is on the smooth celebrations of Independence Day and all requisite arrangements have been put in place in this regard," the ADGP added.

In Srinagar, Governor Satya Pal Malik is scheduled to hoist the tri-colour while in Jammu the celebrations will be led by his advisor.

Sources said that the BJP is planning to hoist the national flag at various places in Srinagar, including the historic Lal Chowk near city center. The party also plans to hoist tri-colours at panchayats across the state.

Meanwhile, information blockade continued for the 10th consecutive day with internet and phone services still snapped, putting common people in the Valley into a total panic, chaos and confusion.

People are anxiously waiting for the government to remove the communication blockade and allow them to have access to basic facilities too.

Nearly a hundred activists of separatist organisations and incarcerated militants have been shifted to jails outside the state in the last week. Most of the former legislators in Kashmir have been placed under house arrest.

Despite the government asking its employees to resume duties last week, reports said, most of the offices still remain locked while only essential services are working.

While strolling through the streets of Srinagar, one could see heaps of garbage on roads as municipal employees have not been able to perform their duties due to strict restrictions.

Most of the English and Urdu newspapers based in Srinagar have not published their editions since August 5, when authorities had imposed the lockdown to deter any protests against New Delhi's decision to scrap the special status of J&K.

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