NEWS
09/08/2019 1:56 PM IST | Updated 09/08/2019 6:48 PM IST

What's Happening In Kashmir?

Section 144 is to be withdrawn from Jammu and schools will open on Saturday, 10 August, All India Radio said.

Reuters
A security force personnel patrols a deserted road during restrictions after the government scrapped special status for Kashmir, in Srinagar August 8, 2019.

Amid the shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir, the region’s administration said it had made arrangements to ensure “smooth and peaceful” Friday prayers, NDTV reported on Friday.

Phone services and internet were partly restored on Friday morning, NDTV said. Some restrictions would be eased to facilitate Friday prayers, Advisor to Jammu and Kashmir Governor told Indian Express.

Section 144 is to be withdrawn from Jammu and schools will open on Saturday, 10 August, All India Radio said. 

Restrictions on gatherings have been in place through Section 144 in many parts of the erstwhile state since Monday, following the central government’s move to bifurcate it into two Union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Officials told PTI a curfew has not been declared.

The communication blackout has involved the snapping of links for cellphones, the internet, landlines, and television.

Unrest in the valley

The external affairs ministry on Friday said that all newspapers were being published, hospitals were functioning and there were no major reports of unrest in Kashmir. However, reports suggest that Kashmir is witnessing civilian protests that are violently suppressed by pellet-gun wielding paramilitary forces.

 

Helplines

The government on Thursday set up two helplines for students and residents outside the state to contact their families in the region.

Modi speech

In an address to the nation on Thursday night — his first since the Centre’s move to abrogate Article 370 and split Jammu and Kashmir into two UTs — Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the situation will gradually return to normal and the government was making efforts to ensure that the people in the region have no difficulties in celebrating Eid which falls on Monday.

“We all want that in future J&K assembly elections take place, a new government is formed, new energetic youths become MLAs, ministers and chief minister. I assure people of J&K that with all honesty and in a transparent atmosphere, you will get an opportunity to elect your representatives soon,” he said.

J-K residents not convinced

Residents who spoke to news agency PTI said Centre’s move had been “extremely undemocratic”. Some even said the Centre only wanted to “win lands and not hearts of Kashmiris”.

“I think his speech was redundant, verbose and lacking substance, and linking scrapping of Article 370 with development of the state, was misplaced,” the Delhi-based Kashmiri journalist told PTI.

Shah Rukh Ali, 25, an MBA graduate, told PTI over the phone from Jammu: “The Centre should have taken the people or at least the mainstream politicians into confidence”.

“How can you put the J-K leaders under house arrest and, decide on fate of people of Jammu and Kashmir, without asking the local people. Is that a democracy,” he asked, adding, this complete communication cut off in the Valley needs to end.

World reacts to Kashmir crisis

Both the United Nations and the United States have asked India and Pakistan to exercise restraint in the sensitive region.

UN general secretary Antonio Guterres said he was “concerned over reports of restrictions on Indian-side of Kashmir,” and warned that such actions could “exacerbate the human rights situation in region.” Read more on international reactions here.