September 2019 News

Day 54: Restrictions Reimposed In Valley Areas, Life Hit By Shutdown

27 September 2019
Kashmir Times

Srinagar: Restrictions were re-imposed in several parts of Valley on Friday today, while life remained affected in Kashmir for the 54th consecutive day today due to a spontaneous shutdown. The shutdown began on August 5 when articles 370 and 35 A were abrogated and J&K state divided into two union territories. During the wee hours of this morning, security forces in large number imposed restrictions in several parts of Kashmir by sealing the roads and bridges with barbed wire. The security men were strictly enforcing the restrictions. The historic Lal Chowk was also sealed. Jamia Masjid area and its adjoining places were also sealed. No congregational Friday prayers were held in Jamia Masjid and other big mosques since August 5. However, such prayers in small local mosques are being allowed. Security arrangements were further tightened today in whole valley. Heavy deployment of security forces and police has been made. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan will address the UN General Assembly tonight. Because of the shutdown, the shops and other business establishments continue to remain shut. Public transport is off the roads. The lack of public transport is affecting the attendance in government offices. Some shops open in several areas in the morning and shut after 9.00 AM. According to one news agency report, the restrictions on internet and mobile telephony services in the Valley have emerged as a fresh challenge also for the security establishment as the counter-insurgency grid is striving to communicate with sources and keeping track of militant movements has become more difficult. There have been over six hundred cordon and search operations (CASO) in the hinterland recently, a news report in News18 quoting some unnamed sources said, 'but only two have been successful'. These two encounters took place in north Kashmir: one in old town of Baramulla district and another in Sopore town of the same district. Internet and mobile phone services in the Valley remain fettered since August 5, the day the Centre withdrew Jammu and Kashmir's special status and restructured the state into two union territories. 'Most of the encounters in the Valley take place because of human intelligence and surveillance of phones,' a top police source was quoted as saying by the report. 'As phones are not working, our sources are not able to pass on the information and we are not able to keep surveillance.' Sightings of jihadists has shot up, the report said quoting some police sources. 'We would not use the term 'militant sighting' before August 5. We would consider it input about a militant, which would lead to the launch of operation,' an official said. 'Now, we get reports of militant sighting after many days or sometimes even after a week. We would get four inputs about a particular militant in a month, but since August 5 we have received over 35 reports of his sighting.' In Srinagar city alone, police sources said, there have been over 40 sightings of jihadists. 'We are getting inputs about militants moving in cars, appearing in villages, praying in mosques, threatening fruit traders, but input reaches too late,' said an official. According to the report since the communication lines were snapped the night before August 5, top officials of the state were given satellite phones for communication. However, BSNL post-paid phones of some police and civil officials were soon restored. The number of these phones, official is around 7,000. The government also started restoring landline phone services in a phased manner around mid-August. This, however, is not helping the counter-insurgency grid. 'There is no suspension of anti-militancy operations in Kashmir. Actually no specific information is coming in,' corroborated a top CRPF official.