After brief semblance of normalcy, Kashmir shutdown returns

Srinagar (IANS) Markets in Kashmir have closed again after resuming business for a few days for the first time since August 5. The closure has come in the wake of threats through posters.

Public transport which suffered most of the losses due to the shutdown has also withdrawn from the roads.

Kashmir has witnessed a lockdown and internet blockade for over 100 days after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5.

After the move on Article 370, Kashmir business opened in the mornings and evenings for only a few hours.

Signs of normalcy first appeared after snowfall on November 7 with markets staying open throughout the day.

Public transport was also back on the road.

However, the semblance of normalcy proved short lived after suspected militants warned shopkeepers through posters about violating the shutdown.

"Last week I kept my shop open till 6 p.m., but since two days I am keeping my shop closed, not even opening briefly in mornings and evenings," said a shopkeeper at Lal Chowk, Srinagar.

District Magistrate Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Choudhary has issued a strict warning to the 'miscreants' threatening residents of Srinagar from carrying out their businesses as normal.

The warning came in response to the threats through posters that warned of action against opening shops or going about other routine affairs.

"The aim of such tactics seems to create fear among the population," Choudhary said.

He assured the general public that the district administration in association with the district police is closely monitoring the situation.

He has urged the people to report instances of intimidation to local police stations and assured action against the 'miscreants'.

The police has downplayed the threat by the miscreants and said the situation is under control returning to normal.

"Situation has improved to a great extent, shops have opened in cities and rural areas and traffic is plying normally, both commercial and private, there are traffic jams, situation is under control so far as law and order is concerned, DG police Dilbagh Singh said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, internet continues to remain suspended in the Valley since August 5.

While landlines and postpaid mobile voice calling has been restored, the prepaid mobile phone service has remained suspended since then.

The mainstream political leaders including three former chief ministers - Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti continue to remain under detention.

Last week 35 detained leaders were moved to the MLA hostel in Srinagar from the centaur hotel along the banks of the Dal Lake.

Their relatives have complained of lack of facilities at the new location.

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