Kashmir inches towards normalcy, phone lines made operational


The lockdown in Kashmir has begun to be lifted in phases with phone lines and public transport being made partially operational in the region, a day after the Centre decided to restore normalcy in the region.

At the same time, Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) was lifted for the day in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir, with the Centre keeping a hawk’s eye on any untoward civilian violence and backlash in the region after 10 days of a complete shutdown in the wake of the reading down of Article 370 and 35A . Jammu and Kashmir Principal Secretary (Planning Commission) Rohit Kansal said, “There has been no untoward incident reported so far. Public transport has started plying and we are getting encouraging reports of normal movement from a lot of rural areas.”

All that the J&K chief secretary announced:

– Telephone lines will be opened gradually starting tonight (Friday). Restrictions will also be gradually lifted. BSNL lines takes time to restore completely.

– Schools will be opened from Monday area-wise. Government offices have already been made fully functional from Friday.

– Political detention of leaders such former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti will be eased out. However, these are subject to review on a daily basis.

– A few preventive detentions of individuals were also made in accordance with provisions of law to maintain law and order.

– There has been no loss of life during these restrictions unlike the previous agitations seen. There has been no loss of life despite terror organisations Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar making all efforts.

– During the restrictions, essential facilities like medical, food are being adequately supplied, satellite television, newspapers are being published and medical facilities are available.

– 12 out of 22 districts are functioning normally with some limited restrictions in 5 districts.

– Movement of public transport to be made operational.

Over 40,000 additional troops were rushed to Jammu and Kashmir ahead of the August 5 announcement of abrogating Article 370 to strip the state of its special status. The state has been put under an unprecedented lockdown ever since with phone lines and internet services suspended for weeks. The restrictions were eased for a few hours on Eid morning in the Valley and were put back immediately after the prayers were over.