Life in Srinagar city on Monday started limping towards normalcy as authorities lifted curfew from entire Kashmir Valley except three police station areas after 51 days of continuous curfew following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. “Curfew has been lifted from Kashmir except from Pulwama town and the areas in Srinagar falling under the jurisdiction of police stations M R Gunj and Nowhatta,” a police official said.
He said the curbs were lifted following improvement in the situation. “However, the security forces will remain deployed in strength in sensitive areas of the Valley to maintain law and order,” the official said. Curfew was clamped in entire Valley on July 9 following violence in the aftermath of Wani’s killing in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district a day earlier. The violence has left 68 people, including two cops, dead and several thousand injured.
The team will be led by home minister Rajnath Singh. The decks appeared to have cleared for a meeting between Kashmiri separatists and the delegation, as the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government reached an understanding that such an engagement won’t be discouraged.
In Kashmir, curfew was lifted from most parts on Monday — after 51 consecutive days of lockdown and subsequent clashes in the aftermath of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s death on July 8.
While public transport continued to be off the roads, there was increased movement of private cars and auto-rickshaws on the roads in Srinagar on Monday morning, the official said. Minor traffic jams were seen along the Rambagh-Jawahar Nagar-Rajbagh axis leading to commercial hub of Lal Chowk due to the increased movement of private vehicles.
The attendance in government offices also showed an upward trend with a majority of employees reporting for work. The banks were also open and witnessed a massive rush of customers as soon as they opened.
However, schools, colleges and other educational institutions and shops remained closed due to the strike called by separatists groups who have asked people to lock down all government offices, except essential services on Monday. “Except for essential services, lock down all government offices and don’t allow movement of any employee towards these offices for joining,” the separatists said in their weekly protest programme.