Normal life remained affected across Kashmir Valley for the 41st consecutive day on Saturday as the stalemate following the nullification of Article 370 continued with most shops and schools remaining shut and public transport off the roads, officials said. Restrictions, which were imposed in the Hazratbal area of the city on Friday, were lifted, the officials said, adding most areas of the valley were restrictions-free.
They, however, said security forces continued to remain deployed at sensitive places across the valley to maintain law and order. Restrictions were first imposed across Kashmir on August 5 when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and split the state into two Union territories. The restrictions were lifted in phases from many parts of the valley as the situation improved with the passage of time.
The authorities have been imposing restrictions in vulnerable areas of the valley every Friday, apprehending that vested interests might exploit the large gatherings at big mosques and shrines to fuel protests. Friday prayers have not been allowed at any of the major mosques or shrines, including Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta and Dargah Sharif in Hazratbal, for over a month now.
Meanwhile, normal life remained severely affected across the valley due to shutdown which entered its 41st day on Saturday, the officials said. Most of the shops and other business establishments remained closed, while public transport was off the roads across the valley, they added. A few vendors set up stalls on the TRC Chowk-Lal Chowk-Batamaloo axis, they said. Internet services remained suspended across all platforms, the officials said.
While landline phones across the valley were functional, voice calls on mobile devices were working only in Kupwara and Handwara police districts of north Kashmir. The efforts of the state government to reopen schools have not borne any fruit as parents continued to keep the kids at home due to apprehensions about their safety.
Most of the top-level and second rung separatist leaders have been taken into custody, while mainstream leaders, including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been either detained or placed under house arrest.