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Amid tight vigil, people in Kashmir offer Friday prayers as restrictions eased; schools, colleges to reopen in Jammu

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: August 9, 2019  | 20:32 IST

(Eds: Adds withdrawal of prohibitory orders in Jammu) Srinagar/Jammu, Aug 9 (PTI) After being confined to their homes for days, people in Kashmir offered Friday prayers in their local mosques as restrictions were eased for the purpose, officials said, adding the Valley was largely peaceful barring minor incidents of stone pelting in the apple-town of Sopore in north Kashmir. People, who have been virtually been kept indoors because of heavy security deployment in the wake of removal of special status for Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state, were allowed to go to mosques in their localities without being asked any questions by security personnel. With no untoward incident, the situation, as of now, was reported to be fine in the Srinagar city and south Kashmir, the officials said, but added that reports from all areas are yet to arrive. The Jammu district administration on Friday withdrew prohibitory orders under CrPC Section 144 imposed here on August 5 in view of the Centre abrogating constitutional provisions that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, according to an official order. According to the order issued by Jammu District Magistrate Sushma Chauhan, all schools, colleges and academic institutions may resume their functioning normally from August 10. The officials said there were minor incidents of stone pelting in Sopore town of north Kashmir, 50 km from Srinagar, but was contained immediately and the crowd dispersed. Restrictions were eased to allow people in Kashmir to offer Friday prayers in local mosques, the officials said, as security forces were put on high alert across the Valley in an apparent move to prevent possible protests. The decision to ease the restrictions was taken after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval directed authorities to ensure that no Kashmiris is harassed, they said. Doval, who has been camping in Srinagar since Tuesday, spoke to locals and security personnel during a quick tour of the sensitive downtown area here on Friday, an official said. The NSA, accompanied by his aides and senior police officers, visited the Eidgah locality and stopped at various places to interact with locals. He later spoke to police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and thanked them for their wonderful work in maintaining law and order. Security forces have been put on high alert across the Kashmir Valley preempting possible protests against the scraping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir and dividing it into two union territories, another set of officials said. The clampdown in Kashmir was imposed on Monday, hours before the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status and split it into two union territories -- Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir. Security forces have been deployed in massive numbers across the Valley, particularly in Srinagar city and major towns, and barricades have been erected every 100 metres and only people allowed to pass are those with medical emergencies. All telephone and Internet connections have been snapped in the Valley and only three news channels, including the state-run Doordarshan, can be accessed through cable TV networks. Locals had stocked up essentials like food grains, fuel and medicines in the run-up to the Monday's announcement by the Home Minister Amit Shah in the Rajya Sabha about revoking provisions of Article 370. During easing of restrictions in some parts of the city, especially in the civil line areas on Thursday, the movement of the people remained thin, while a few shops mostly selling vegetables and medicines opened. PTI SKL MIJ TAS SMN SMN

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