Prohibitory orders are no more in place during the day in 93% of Jammu and Kashmir, the state administration claimed on Monday. Daytime restrictions have also been removed from 92 out of 111 police station areas in the Kashmir Valley, the government said.
Tuesday marks the 30th day since the state was put under prohibitory orders and an unprecedented communications blackout as the government prepared to announce the revocation of the region’s autonomy. The Centre announced the move in Parliament on August 5, after which the state no longer has special constitutional status and is set to be split into two Union territories on October 31. Prohibitory orders are being lifted gradually but the communications blockade remains in many parts.
Government spokesperson and Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal said in the daily press briefing that the state had seen 152 “significant incidents” of stone pelting in the last three weeks – 125 of them in Srinagar. “There was a progressive increase in these incidents till August 16, and a progressive decrease since then,” he said.
Landline telephone services have been restored in 76 out of 95 exchanges, while mobile phones are working in Jammu and Ladakh. “Over 26,000 landline telephones are functional across the Valley and it has improved the communication services, which is evident from the fact that while 2,500 calls were being made from the deputy commissioner Srinagar’s facility before, it has now seen a fall by over 85%,” Kansal said. When all landlines were blocked, the government had allowed citizens to make phone calls from the deputy commissioner’s office.
The government also allowed families of some detained political leaders to visit them briefly in accordance with the jail manual, PTI reported. Former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are among those allowed visits by families.
Government offices are now fully functional, as are over 4,000 primary, middle and high schools, Kansal said. “The attendance of teachers has improved and the attendance of children, though low in some places, is also improving,” he said. Public transport is also returning to roads.
However, Srinagar Mayor Junaid Azim Mattu told NDTV that while there may not be any bodies littering the streets of Kashmir, assuming that it has returned to normal would be “highly unrealistic”. “Containing a sentiment in the aftermath of a radical decision by enforcing a clampdown doesn’t mean that the situation is normal,” he said. “The BJP government’s policy of detainment seems to be a purely operational one.”