JAMMU: Restrictions were further eased in 50 police station areas of the Valley on Sunday though curbs were tightened in some parts of Srinagar after stray incidents of violence and internet services snapped again in five districts of the Jammu region, a day after they were restored, as strict security arrangements continued in Jammu and Kashmir.
The first batch of 300 Haj pilgrims returned to Kashmir from Saudi Arabia on Sunday amid elaborate arrangements made by the authorities to ensure their smooth return, officials said.
"The process of easing prohibitory orders is on. The restrictions were eased in 50 police station areas today as against 35 police station areas yesterday," government spokesman Rohit Kansal told reporters here Sunday evening.
Kansal said a new week is starting from Monday and "we are looking at it with a new hope".
"Over 190 primary schools will reopen tomorrow in Srinagar alone and after this, we look forward to other areas like taking up development-related activities," he said.
Kansal said the duration of relaxation was also increased from six hours to eight hours on Sunday.
"The relaxations were announced thereby enabling people and shopkeepers to plan in advance. The relaxation hours were increased keeping in view the response yesterday and the request by traders. This process will continue in the days to come," he said.
The government spokesman said there were reports of "hooliganism by some mischievous elements coercing the shopkeepers" in some areas to shut their shops.
"The law enforcing agencies have taken note. There are no reports of any untoward incidents in the areas which witnessed relaxations. However, there are reports of two-three incidents of disturbances in which two persons have been injured who are stated to be stable. These incidents have been dealt by local security forces," he said.
On the issue of the restoration of mobile phone services in the valley, Kansal said easing of restrictions on communication will continue and the endeavour is to restore landline telephone services to the fullest as quickly as possible.
Earlier, the officials said restrictions were tightened in some parts of Srinagar city on Sunday following incidents of violence a day earlier.
They added restrictions continued in many parts of the valley for the 14th day on Sunday.
The restrictions were reimposed in certain areas which witnessed trouble on Saturday after the curbs were eased in several areas of the city and elsewhere in the valley, the officials said.
They said protests took place at around a dozen places in which several protesters were injured.
However, the exact number of injuries was not available, the officials said.
On Saturday evening, Kansal said protests took place at six places in the valley in which eight persons suffered injuries.
Landline telephone services have been restored in several areas of the city as the process to bring more areas on the telecom map was going on, the officials said.
Some private vehicles were seen plying in the civil lines areas of the city and the other district headquarters of the valley on Sunday, they said, adding some shops were also open in those areas.
In the Jammu region, low-speed (2G) mobile Internet services were once again snapped in five districts on Sunday to check rumour-mongering, a day after the services were restored.
A police official said the authorities concerned directed service providers to snap the services around forenoon.
He said the decision was taken to check rumour-mongering and maintain peace and tranquillity.
Low-speed mobile Internet services were restored in five districts of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi during the intervening night of Friday and Saturday after remaining suspended for nearly a fortnight.
Mobile Internet services were snapped across Jammu region on August 4, a day before the Centre revoked the provisions of Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into two union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Curfew-like restrictions were put in place across the state hours before the move.
However, the restrictions were subsequently eased.
Immediately after the resumption of 2G mobile Internet services in five districts, Jammu Inspector General of Police Mukesh Singh had warned of strict action against anyone circulating fake messages or videos on social media.
The first batch of 304 Haj pilgrims from Saudi Arabia landed at the Srinagar airport Sunday morning, the officials said.
They said elaborate arrangements were made for the smooth movement of pilgrims to their respective destinations.
"Only one family member is allowed at the airport to receive the Hajis. A fleet of State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) buses has been deployed to facilitate the movement of Hajis and their relatives with the coordination of all district administrations," an official said.
The security forces were directed to allow passage of pilgrims and their relatives, who were issued passes, through the areas where restrictions are in place, the officials said.