SFs on alert, shutdown continues in Kashmir

File Photo

Srinagar: Security forces remained on alert to maintain law and order in the Kashmir valley, where life remained crippled due to strike for the 52nd day on Wednesday against scrapping of Article 370 and 35 A, besides dividing the state into two Union Territories on August 5.
However, shops and business establishments functioned for about two hours from 0700 hrs to 0900 hrs in the summer capital, Srinagar, including historic Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the city, where people were seen making purchases of essentials and other articles. Later, life again came to a halt after shopkeepers closed their establishments. Interestingly, some bank branches were also seen functioning for few hours in the morning before shutting down again.
But, hardly any such activity was witnessed in the downtown, where security forces remained deployed in strength to maintain law and order.
Meanwhile, security forces were on alert as restrictions under Section 144 CrPC, banning assembly of four or more people, continued as a precautionary measure in the valley to maintain law and order, officials said, adding there was no curfew in any part of the valley, including Srinagar.
Internet and mobile service of all Cellular companies, including Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), remained suspended since August 5 to prevent spread of rumours in the valley, where train service was also shut.
The situation in Shehar-e-Khas (SeK), where all gates of historic Jamia Masjid remained closed to prevent assembly of people since August 5, saw no change. A large number of Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) remained deployed in the Jamia Market and outside the Masjid to maintain law and order. No prayers, including on Fridays, were offered in the Masjid, stronghold of chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference (HC) Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq, since August 5 due to restrictions.
Business and other activities remained crippled in summer capital, Srinagar and its adjoining areas for the past 53 days while public transport was off the roads on Wednesday. The State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) buses also remained off the roads. However, private vehicles were seen plying on city roads. In some areas traffic jam was witnessed, particularly in the morning. Three wheelers could also be seen plying early in the morning in some uptown and civil line areas before going off the roads at 0900 hrs.
There was also no change in the situation elsewhere in the valley, where all shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads due to strike since August 5. However, private vehicles were seen plying on some routes.
Business and other activities remained crippled for the 52nd day on Wednesday in south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian. There was also no change in the situation in Kupwara, Baramulla, Bandipora, Pattan, Sopore, Handwara and Ajas in north Kashmir. Reports of shutdown were also received from central Kashmir districts of Ganderbal and Budgam.