In a move indicating an ease of tension, the authorities lifted curfew from the entire Kashmir valley except three police station areas. With this the 52-day long restrictions comes to an end, the period that saw spike in clashes between the security forces and stone-pelting local protesters leaving 68 persons, including two policemen, dead.
The lifting of curfew has given the state, battling with the fragile situation since the encounter killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani on July 8, a much needed sigh of relief.
Life in Srinagar city on Monday started limping towards normalcy as movement of private cars and auto-rickshaws made a comeback on the city roads. The public transport, meanwhile, remains to be off-road.
“Curfew has been lifted from Kashmir except from Pulwama town and the areas in Srinagar falling under the jurisdiction of police stations M R Gunj and Nowhatta,” a police official said citing the improvement in the situation.
But the mobile internet continued to remain suspended in the entire Valley, where the outgoing facility on prepaid mobiles remained barred.
“However, the security forces will remain deployed in strength in sensitive areas of the Valley to maintain law and order,” the official added.
While the attendance in government offices also showed upward trend with majority of employees reporting for work, the banks were also open and witnessed massive rush of customers as soon as they opened.
However, schools, colleges and other educational institutions and shops remained closed due to the strike called by separatists groups who have asked people to lockdown all government offices, except essential services today.
“Except for essential services, lock down all government offices and don’t allow movement of any employee towards these offices for joining,” the separatists said in their weekly protest programme.
Earlier last week, Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti held a meeting in New Delhi apprising Prime Minister Modi of situation in Kashmir. She presented a “three-pronged action plan” that included a dialogue with “all stakeholders” to bring lasting peace in the Valley rocked by turmoil.
Appealing to the protesters to help her resolve the crisis, she had said, “please give me one chance to address your concerns and aspirations.”
(With inputs from the Agencies)