Restrictions were relaxed in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday as the locals gear up to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha on Monday. The Jammu and Kashmir administration said banks, ATMS and several markets will remain open today and people will also be permitted to offer prayers in neighbourhood mosques on Monday.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration said there has been no report of violence across the Valley on Sunday, but Section 144 continues to remain imposed in certain sensitive areas.
The administration added that it has taken steps to facilitate the availability of adequate food and other necessary items to help people celebrate the festival of Eid conveniently. The J&K administration has also decided to open 300 special telephone booths to help people in the Valley communicate with their relatives.
Meanwhile, a security alert has been issued in Kashmir Valley ahead of Independence Day celebrations on August 15, citing a possible Pakistan-based terror attack.
Pakistan continues to maintain its aggressive stance on the Kashmir issue after the government scrapped Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Here are 10 developments to keep you up to date with developments from Kashmir Valley:
As Kashmir gears up to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha today, the Jammu and Kashmir administration said it has taken all necessary steps to ensure an adequate supply of necessities to help locals. Meanwhile, on Sunday, the mood was calm in the Valley and Srinagar deputy commissioner said the forces are taking all measures necessary to help people enjoy the festival. While normal life has been paralysed due to restrictions in certain areas of Kashmir, the administration has said that there will be relaxation for the festival.
While restrictions have been completely relaxed in five districts Jammu, people living in border areas of the region have appealed to the administration to open phone lines on Eid. Rajouri DM has confirmed that people will be allowed to come out from 10 am to 6 pm today. The people during this time period can go for shopping, groceries and even spend time with relatives in the region. The same rule applies for much of Kashmir valley, except for areas which are sensitive. Security will be high in areas where security forces suspect violence. “Everything is peaceful. The restriction has been eased and there has been a lot of improvement in public and transport movement,” Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said.
An official spokesperson told news agency PTI that magistrates have been deployed at all critical places to act as facilitators for the convenience of the general public. Meanwhile, another top government official told the news agency that people will be allowed to visit neighbourhood mosques to offer prayers during Eid-ul-Azha today.
The J&K administration on Sunday had even issued an advisory saying that 300 special telephone booths are being established to help people communicate with their kin, who are residing in different parts of India. Telephone and internet connections have remained inactive in the Valley since August 5 as a precautionary measure, after the government scrapped Article 370.
Banks and ATMs have also been made operations for the festivities, said an official spokesperson. Six markets have also been established in Srinagar city while 2.5 lakh sheep have been available for the public for sacrificial purposes on Eid-ul-Azha today. The authorities have also deployed mobile vans for door-to-door delivery of vegetables, LPG cylinders, poultry, and eggs, according to officials.
The district administrations are constantly reviewing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and it is likely that phone connections will be restored after a final review in the next couple of days. When asked about the restrictions on communication links, an official told PTI that these are temporary measures to maintain peace and prevent the circulation of misinformation. The administration has trashed many reports, which indicate that there is tension in the Valley. “The government is conscious of the ground situation and doing utmost so that there is a minimum inconvenience to the people. Everyday something or the other restrictions are relaxed. We will take decisions on lifting restrictions on phones as early as possible,” he said.
While the situation is expected to stay peaceful, as suggested by local police, security precautions have been taken for sensitive areas. A security alert has also been issued in the Valley for three days ahead of Independence Day, suspecting a possible Pakistan-based terror attack.
However, not everyone in Kashmir is happy due to the restrictions that were imposed in the run-up to Eid. Traders in the Valley said they suffered cumulative losses to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore. Bashir Ahmed, a livestock dealer, hailing from Poonch, had come to Kashmir with his herd of goats and sheep in the hope of making some profit through the sale of sacrificial animals on the eve of Eid-ul-Azha, but he said he might have to take most of them back with him. Livestock and bakeries have been worst-hit due to the restrictions.
Meanwhile, National Conference leader Ali Mohammad Sagar, who was arrested a few days ago, was on Sunday shifted to a jail in Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, the first mainstream political leader being sent out of Jammu and Kashmir, an official told. So far 46 people have been shifted from J-K to jails in Uttar Pradesh in recent days.
Last but not the least, India on Sunday cancelled the Samjhauta Express after Pakistan had earlier suspended operations on its side. While India asked Pakistan to stay out of its internal matter on Kashmir, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan again attacked New Delhi and made a series of controversial remarks. Criticising the scrapping of Article 370, he said it is a crackdown on the freedom of Kashmiris.