Srinagar: Normal life remained affected in Kashmir Valley for the 42nd consecutive day on Sunday following abrogation of Article 370 as most of shops remained shut and public transport was off the roads, even as the weekly flea market opened here, officials said.
The weekly flea market opened here on Sunday as several vendors put up their stalls on the TRC Chowk-Polo View axis, the officials said. They said people from many areas of the valley thronged the market to buy items. Security forces were deployed along the axis to keep an eye on miscreants who might try to force vendors to wind up the stalls, the officials said. They said the movement of private cars was going on unhindered in the city and elsewhere in the valley, while few auto-rickshaws and inter-district cabs were also seen plying in some areas.
Meanwhile, normal life remained severely affected elsewhere in the valley due to the shutdown which entered its 42nd day on Sunday, 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. Internet services remained suspended across all platforms, the officials said.
While landline across the valley were functional, voice calls on mobile devices were working only in Kupwara and Handwara police districts of north Kashmir. While most areas of the valley were restriction-free, the deployment of security forces continued on the ground to maintain law and order, the officials said. Restrictions were first imposed across Kashmir on 5 August 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.
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 or Dargah Sharief in Hazratbal - in the valley for the past over a month now. Most of the top-level and second rung separatist politicians have been taken into custody while mainstream leaders including three former chief ministers - Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti - have also been either detained or placed under house arrest.