Restrictions in the Kashmir Valley will be eased in the coming days “in an orderly way”, with schools set to reopen next week, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said on Friday.
Twelve of the 22 districts in the state were now functioning normally, and five districts had limited restrictions, Subrahmanyam said at a press conference, according to The Indian Express. Government offices operated in the Valley on Friday and “attendance was in full high”, he said.
Jammu and Kashmir was put under an unprecedented security and information clampdown on August 4, a day before the Centre announced the withdrawal of the state’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution. Prohibitory orders were in place and all landline, mobile phone and internet connections were blocked.
Restrictions have been completely removed in Jammu since, but have stayed in place in the Kashmir Valley.
“You will see gradual restoration [of phone lines] from tonight and tomorrow onwards,” PTI quoted Subrahmanyam as saying. “You will find a lot of Srinagar functioning tomorrow morning. BSNL takes a couple of hours to get back to action. Exchange by exchange they will be switching it on. Over the weekend, you will have most of these lines functional.”
Subrahmanyam also said that after Friday prayers, immediate reports suggested that the state was peaceful and added that life in Jammu and Kashmir would resume normalcy soon. “This is already visible on the roads as the roads are full of regular traffic and we expect to an increase in the coming days,” he said.
On the matter of preventive detentions, the chief secretary said that they were being continuously reviewed and that “appropriate decisions will be made based on law and order assessments”.
The chief secretary claimed that there had not been “a single loss of life or single injuries to anyone during the course of maintaining peace”. “We are now taking measures to ease the restrictions in a gradual manner,” he said. “There will be easing of restrictions in the coming days in an orderly way.”
Subrahmanyam said the government had taken measures to ensure minimum inconvenience to residents. He said steps were taken to ensure there was no shortage of medical services and supplies and added that the authorities ensured free movement of Hajj pilgrims.
“Periodically, there were relaxations in some of these restrictions to enable the people to come out for their daily requirements,” he said. “A sufficient number of passes were issued to the media to ensure their movement. Telecom connectivity will be gradually eased and restored in a phased manner.”