SRINAGAR: Normalcy remains missing in the Kashmir Valley as locals are observing spontaneous protests against the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K into two Union Territories.
Many people are not sending their children to primary and middle schools despite authorities relaxing security restrictions in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley on Saturday. Shops and business establishments operate intermittently, with some preferring not to open in the second half of the day, especially post evening hours.
“I open my provisional store in the morning till 8.30 am. Then I close the shop and again open it up at 6 pm till 8.30 pm,” said Mehraj-ud-Din, a shopkeeper at Sonawar. Another shopkeeper Javed Ahmed of downtown Rainawari said he opens the shop for a few hours in the morning only. “I don’t open it in the evening”.
Locals are observing spontaneous shutdowns despite no call by separatists or mainstream parties or terrorist outfits. While private vehicles, two-wheelers and three-wheelers move around in Srinagar, two-wheelers and occasional four-wheelers are seen in downtown and some volatile areas where the people have set up road blocks. Passenger transport is not operating since August 5. Dev Bahadur, a security officer of a Srinagar school, said buses were sent on five different routes to bring students. “However, the buses returned empty.”
Riyaz Ahmad, whose son studies in a private school in Srinagar, said he would not take risk when situation remains uncertain and tense. “Situation is very fragile. You don’t know what will happen next moment. Besides, there is communication blockade in Valley. How will we communicate with school in case something untoward happens?” he said. “For the time being, study can take a back seat.”
Schools open, thin attendance
As the situation remains tense, the people are not sending their wards to schools despite government opening schools up to middle level from Monday. Of the 6,000 primary schools and 3,000 middle schools in the Valley, 774 have been made operational by the local administration. But most parents are not preferring to send their children for security reasons