J&K: Life far from normal; schools, markets and public transport remain disrupted

Srinagar: Incidents of miscreants threatening shopkeepers and vandalising private vehicles have been reported from many places in Kashmir Valley where normal life remained disrupted for the 46th day on Thursday following abrogation of Article 370, officials said.

They said private cars have come under stone-pelting at many places as the miscreants want to enforce shutdown. Authorities have taken note of these incidents and follow up action has been taken, the officials added.

Markets remained closed in the Valley and public transport off the roads, they said. They said some of the shops open for few hours early in the morning and late in the evening, but remain shut during the day.

Public transport was off the roads, but private cars were plying in many areas of the city and elsewhere in the valley, they said. Few auto-rickshaws and inter-district cabs were also seen plying in some areas in civil lines of the city, they added.

The officials said Internet services remained suspended across all platforms.

While landlines across the valley were functional, voice calls on mobile devices were working only in Kupwara and Handwara police districts of north Kashmir, they added.

The efforts of the state government to open schools have not borne any fruit as parents continued to keep children at home due to apprehensions about their safety.

Most areas of the valley were restrictions-free, but the deployment of security forces continued on the ground to maintain law and order, the officials said.

Restrictions were first imposed across Kashmir on August 5 when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate 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.

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 or Dargah Sharief in Hazratbal - in the valley for the past over a month now.

Most of the top-level and second rung mainstream politicians, including three former chief ministers - Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, continued to be in detention or under house arrest.

While NC president Farooq Abdullah was first placed under house arrest, he was on Tuesday booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

His son Omar and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti were detained on the night of August 4 -- hours before the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and to bifurcate the state into two Union territories.

Most of the mainstream leaders, including former ministers and legislators, were also either detained or kept under house arrest, the officials said.