Srinagar, November 24
Barring business and public transport, life is limping back to normal in the Kashmir valley, where separatists have extended the strike till December Ist.
However, there is no change in the situation in and around the historic Jamia Masjid, where the main gates remained locked since July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Burhan Wani and two other militants were killed in an encounter in Anantnag. However, gates were opened last Saturday and Sunday when separatists had given relaxation in strike.
Both the factions of the Hurriyat Conference (HC) and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), spearheading the agitation have in their last protest calendar extended till December Ist, demanding right to self determination. There is however, full day relaxation in the strike on Saturday and Sundays. Police said there was no curfew or restrictions in any part of the Kashmir valley though deployment of security forces on ground would continue to maintain law and order. Business and other activities remained closed in the entire Kashmir Valley and transport also remained off the roads in support of the separatists call , demanding right to self determination. Educational institutions witness a good rush of students and parents who had come to collect new books, uniform and other articles from the school management after government announced mass promotion from Ist to 11th class barring 10th class.
Shops and other business establishments remained closed in civil lines, including main business hubs of historic Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the city, Hari Singh High Street (HSHS), Gonikhan, Residency road, Moulana Azad road, Mahraj Bazar, Batmaloo, Iqbal park, Dalgate, Regal Chowk and Budshah Chowk. Some private vehicles, besides two-wheelers and cabs, could be seen plying on some routes , especially roads connecting summer capital Srinagar with rest of the districts. However, passenger vehicles were off the roads. Meanwhile, all the gates to historic Jamia Masjid, where no Friday prayers could be offered for the past 19 weeks due to restrictions, were again locked since November 21 and no one was being allowed to enter the complex. The Jamia market, which witnessed heavy rush of customers last Saturday and Sunday when there was relaxation in strike, again wore a deserted look with large number of security forces and state police personnel remained deployed there. Business and other activities remained paralysed in the down town and Shehar-e-Khas (SeK), where large number of security forces and state police personnel remained deployed to prevent any untoward incident. A report from Baramulla said that security forces and state police personnel remained deployed in entire north Kashmir, where shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads.
However, good number of private vehicles could be seen plying on some routes though security forces remained deployed on bridges over river Jehlum, connecting old town with civil lines in Baramulla. Similar reports were received from Kupwara, Handwara, Bandipora, Ajas, Pattan and Palhalan, where remained crippled.
Business and other activities remained paralyzed in this and other south Kashmir towns, including Kulgam, Pulwama, Awantipora, Pampore and Pahalgam, a report from Anantnag said.
Transport was off the roads in entire south Kashmir though some private vehicles could be seen plying. Additional security forces remained deployed at Kakpora, where the situation is very tense after the killing of a militant in an encounter with security forces recently.
Reports of complete strike were also received from central Kashmir districts of Ganderbal and Badgam, including Kangan, Charar-e-Sharief, Chadoora and Chanapora, where business establishments and shops remained closed.