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Curbs On Movement Of People In Kashmir Eased, Landline Services In 17 Exchanges Restored

Restrictions on the movement of people in the Kashmir Valley were eased on Saturday, with landline services restored in some areas of the city, even as stringent security arrangements continued to be in place, officials said.

They said restrictions have been relaxed in 35 police station areas of Kashmir, while 17 of the 96 telephone exchanges across the Kashmir Valley have been made functional.

The restrictions were eased on Saturday morning to facilitate the movement of government employees towards their offices, the officials said.

Security forces continued to be deployed, while barricades remained on the roads, but people were allowed to move after checking their credentials, they said.

The officials said landline services were restored in some areas of the Valley including Raj Bagh and Jawahar Nagar, but remained suspended in most parts, including the commercial hub of Lal Chowk, Press Enclave, and other areas around it.

There was an increase in movement of private vehicles in the Civil Lines areas and other district headquarters of the Valley, the officials said, adding that some inter-district cabs were also seen plying in the Dalgate area of the summer capital.

Some shops in the Civil Lines area opened on Saturday morning, the officials said. However, most business establishments, including fuel stations, remained shut.

Addressing a press conference, government spokesperson Rohit Kansal said the restrictions have been eased in 35 police station areas.

“The process of providing relaxation and easing of restrictions is already in progress. Relaxation has been provided in 35 police station areas across the length and breadth of the Valley, and so far, there are no reports of any untoward incident. Public transport is plying and we have encouraging reports of a lot of public movement,” Kansal said.

On the restoration of landline services, the government spokesperson said of the 96 exchanges in the Kashmir Valley, 17 are functional and providing landline services to the people.

“The endeavour is to make at least half of the exchanges in the Valley functional by today evening and by tomorrow evening, all the exchanges, barring a few in the vulnerable areas, would be made functional,” he said.

Kansal said in the Jammu region, landlines and mobile phone services were functional and mobile Internet services with some functionality in at least five districts have been restored. “The services will be restored in other areas in a calibrated manner,” he said.

The government spokesperson said primary schools across the Valley will reopen on Monday and government offices would also be fully functional from then.

On the question of release of detained political leaders, Kansal said such a decision would be taken by the local authorities based on the law and order situation in their respective areas.

Kashmir was placed under a total clampdown on August 5, hours before the Centre announced abrogation of provisions of Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.―The Hindu Business Line

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