The police in Jammu and Kashmir told news agency AFP on Friday that restrictions placed on public gatherings would be eased for afternoon prayers. This came five days after the central government imposed a security lockdown of the state and cut off all communication channels, including landline phones, internet services and cellphones, ahead of its decision to end Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in the Union of India and bifurcate it into two Union Territories.
Phone services and internet connections were partially restored on Friday morning and restrictions on movement were eased to facilitate the prayers, NDTV reported. Prayers will not be held at Srinagar’s Jama Masjid, according to PTI. Unidentified officials said prayers would be allowed in smaller mosques, and enough personnel were posted to ensure there are no protests against the Centre’s decision. Restrictions may be reduced even more if the prayers take place without any trouble, they added.
These ease in restrictions came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured the people of the state that they would still be able to elect their representatives to the legislature, and urged the people from the rest of the country to help develop Jammu and Kashmir and free it from the clutches of militancy and separatism.
The prime minister said Centre wanted Kashmiris to celebrate Eid without any problem and assured them that his government would make every effort to ensure there are no disruptions in celebrations of the festival.