J&K: 18,000 offer namaz in Srinagar, schools reopen in Jammu
The first Friday after Centre's massive Kashmir move was peaceful and no major untoward incident was reported. Prohibitory orders, which have been imposed in J&K since August 5, were relaxed to allow people to participate in Friday namaz, and thousands turned up at local mosques. In Jammu, schools and colleges reopened on Saturday, hinting normalcy might return to the area soon. Here's more.
Earlier this week, Centre split J&K into two union territories, J&K and Ladakh, and withdrew it special status. With Article 370 being scrapped, residents of J&K will no longer enjoy dual citizenship, and all Indian laws will be applicable to the state. Anticipating a fallout, the BJP-led Centre deployed more than 30,000 troops and imposed Section 144 of CrPC, forcing residents to remain indoors.
The administration seemed well-prepared for Friday and allowed locals to offer namaz in small groups. However, gatherings weren't allowed in main shrines like Jamia Masjid and Hazratbal. 18,000 people offered namaz in Srinagar, 7,500 in Budgam, and 11,000 in Anantnag, reports TOI. Less than 4,000 offered prayers in Baramulla, Kulgam, and Shopian. A burqa-clad woman told the daily that "no one can stop namaz".
A strict vigil was maintained in all mosques. Personnel of CRPF and J&K Police watched over the mosques from outside the gates and rooftops. A couple of shops opened after five days and locals flocked them to purchase necessities, amid fear of being attacked by stone pelters. Meanwhile, DGP Dilbagh Singh said restrictions on movements will be relaxed with each day.
"The curfew was first relaxed in areas falling under Kudleed, Wasar, Sangrambhata, and Girinagar from 4-5 PM and then relaxed in Pachhal-A, Pochal-B, Hatta Sarkoot, and Bhagwan Mohalla areas from 6 PM to 7 PM," Kishtwar development commissioner Angrez Singh Rana told PTI.
The situation remained normal in Kathua, Samba, and Udhampur districts, and several schools opened on Friday itself. However, restrictions continued to remain in place in Poonch, Ramban, and Rajouri districts, officials said. Further, Jammu District Magistrate Sushma Chauhan issued an order on Friday, saying all institutions in the area will reopen from Saturday. To note, visuals of school-going kids emerged from Jammu.