SRINAGAR: Communication curbs have been eased to some extent and landline telephone services restored in most places across the Valley. Yet, in areas where communication blockade remains, a humanitarian crisis is unfolding.
On August 17, 60-year-old Mohammad Ayoub Khan of Braripora area of Sekidafar in downtown Srinagar died of suffocation due to alleged teargas inhalation.
His brother Shabir Ahmad Khan said, however, that their sister who lives in Baramulla, came to know about his death three days later.
“Three days after Ayoub’s death, we sent a relative to Pattan to inform her after authorities eased restrictions.”
There are scores of such cases.
“I came to know about my uncle’s death four days after his death,” said Suhail Ahmad, a resident of Dal Gate area.
“I regret that I could not attend his last rites.”
Riyaz Ahmad a resident of Pantha Chowk said he came to know about his cousin’s death two days after his demise.
“My cousin in Pulwama, was not keeping well. He died while restrictions were in place. His family could not contact us. The blockade has prevented people even from attending the last rites of their deceased relatives.”
In one of the heart-wrenching scenes, a man hailing from Srinagar went to the airport two days back to receive his mother returning from Haj.
Failing to see her he enquired from the person who was accompanying her only to be told that she had died and been buried in Saudi Arabia.
Officials, meanwhile, said, the process of fully restoring landline connectivity, barring in a few pockets, is underway and more telephone lines would be restored soon, though e-commercial hubs like Lal Chowk remain without connectivity.
On Saturday, Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal said eight more exchanges 'having 5,300 landlines — would be restored over the weekend.
However, mobile telephone services and internet, including BSNL's Broadband and private leased-line internet, remain unavailable.
While the deployment of security forces continue, markets across Kashmir continued to remain shut for the 21st consecutive day, while public transport remained off roads.
Priyanka, Rahul hit out at Centre
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday hit out at those accusing the opposition of “politicising” the J&K issue, saying there is nothing more “political” than the alleged “shutting down” of democratic rights in Kashmir.
Rahul Gandhi said they got a taste of the “draconian administration” and “brute force” unleashed on the people of J&K when they were stopped at Srinagar airport.
Stone-pelting kills a truck driver
Protesters on Sunday evening hurled stones at a civilian truck in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, killing the driver, police said.
The deceased, Mohammad Khalil Dar was returning home when protesters mistook his truck for a security force vehicle and hurled stones at it. The driver was shifted to a hospital, where doctors declared him brought dead, police said.