SRINAGAR: With the government deciding to take a calculated risk, high schools will resume functioning in Kashmir from Wednesday for the first time after J&K was put under lockdown ever since the lifting of special provisions under Article 370 three weeks ago.
Last week, primary and middle schools had reopened. Though attendance was thin, it didn’t give the administration any anxiety as there was little risk of a law-and-order problem from junior schools.
But high school students have in the past hit the streets and at times indulged in stone-throwing, which could be challenging for security forces.
Dr Syed Sehrish Asgar, Director Information and Public Relations, attributed the decision to reopen high schools in the Valley to the improvement in the law-and-order situation.
The authorities on Tuesday further eased security restrictions in 12 police station areas in the Valley.
In all, restrictions have been eased in 81 out of 111 police stations across the Valley,” she said adding, “curbs will be lifted in 15 more police stations tomorrow.”
As a result, private vehicles, three-wheelers and two-wheelers were plying on the roads in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley.
However, shops, business establishments and petrol pumps remained closed. Private vehicles, too, were off the roads.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a batch of petitions challenging the Centre’s decision on Article 370 and the communication blockade in J&K.
While the petition against the scrapping of Article 370 has been filed by advocate M L Sharma, National Conference MPs Mohd Akbar Lone and Justice (rtd) Hasnain Masoodi have challenged the changes made in the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir by the Centre.
They have also been joined by former IAS officer Shah Faesal and former JNU student leader Shehla Rashid and several others including eminent persons like Radha Kumar.
Senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury too filed a petition in the Supreme Court for the production of party leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, who has been under detention.
A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Justice Ranjan Gogoi will take up the petitions. The other judges are Justices SA Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer.
"The President, acting on the advice of the Union Cabinet amounts to the same constitutional functionary taking his own consent to effect a fundamental structural change without consultation or concurrence of the persons affected by that change, or their elected representatives. This is contrary to the rule of law, and is manifestly arbitrary," one of the petitions stated.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is considering a complete closure of airspace to India and a ban on use of Pak land routes for Indian trade with Afghanistan, according to minister Fawad Chaudhry.
(With PTI Inputs)