Srinagar: Fresh restrictions were imposed in parts of Srinagar on Friday to maintain law and order in view of congregational prayers, even as the stalemate following abrogation of Article 370 entered its 40th day with schools closed and public transport off the roads, officials said.
Fresh restrictions have been imposed in areas around Hazratbal, while the curbs continued in five police station areas of downtown – interior areas of the city, the officials said. They said the restrictions under Section 144 CrPc have been imposed to maintain law and order.
The authorities have been imposing restrictions in vulnerable areas of the valley every Friday, apprehending that vested interests might exploit the large gatherings at big mosques and shrines to fuel protests.
Friday prayers have not been allowed at any of the major mosques or shrines – including Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta or Dargah Sharief in Hazratbal - in the valley for the past over a month now.
The restrictions were first imposed across Kashmir on 5 August when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate the state into two Union territories.
The restrictions were lifted in phases from many parts of the valley as the situation improved with the passage of time.
However, normal life remained severely affected across the valley due to shutdown which entered its 40th day on Friday, the officials said. Most of the shops and other business establishments remained closed, while public transport was off the roads across the valley, they added.
Internet services remained suspended across all platforms, the officials said. While landline across the valley were functional, voice calls on mobile devices were working only in Kupwara and Handwara police districts of north Kashmir.
The efforts of the state government to open schools have not borne any fruit as parents continued to keep children at home due to apprehensions about their safety. Most of the top-level and second rung separatist politicians have been taken into custody while mainstream leaders including three former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti – have also been either detained or placed under house arrest.