Shutdown continues, but mornings reflect signs of normalcy

Srinagar: Kashmir Valley showed some signs of normalcy on Thursday, with traffic jams in summer capital Srinagar and some shops opening in the city in the morning hours.
However, the government’s efforts to reopen schools, which have now been closed for two months following abrogation of Article 370, failed again as students stayed away from educational institutions, officials said.
Traffic jams were witnessed in several areas of the city here as the movement of private vehicles increased, officials said.
They said additional traffic personnel had to be deployed in the city to regulate traffic as the increased movement of private transport, auto-rickshaws and inter-district cabs led to jams at various places especially at intersections.
Main markets and other business establishments in Kashmir remained shut on Thursday, even as some shops in the city were open till 11 am, they said.
Mobile services remained suspended in Kashmir except in Handwara and Kupwara areas in the north, while Internet services — across all platforms continued to be snapped in the valley since the night of August 4, officials said.
The functioning of schools in Kashmir has remained affected since August 5 when the Government of India announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and to bifurcate the state into two Union territories.
Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Khan had on Monday directed all Deputy Commissioners and officers concerned to ensure that all government schools as well as private institutions up to Higher Secondary level of the valley be open by Thursday and Colleges to open by or before 9 October.
The officials said the state government was trying its best to have normal functioning in schools, but its efforts have not borne any fruit as most parents continued to keep children at home due to apprehensions about their safety.
The officials said there were no restrictions anywhere in the valley, but security forces were deployed in strength in vulnerable areas to maintain law and order.
Most of the top level and second rung separatist politicians have been taken into preventive custody while mainstream leaders, including two former chief ministers — Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been either detained or placed under house arrest.
Another former chief minister and sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah has been arrested under the controversial Public Safety Act.

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