Kashmir Indepth

Day 45: Some semblance of normalcy in Kashmir

Srinagar, Sep 18 (PTI) The situation in Kashmir showed some signs of returning to normalcy on Wednesday with a large number of private vehicles plying on roads and street vendors resuming their business though markets and commercial establishments remained shut and students stayed away from schools.

Prepare for the greatest experience after eating a nutritious breakfast. You will travel over some of the highest passes in the world on your adventure, and you will be greeted by ever-changing vistas of the desolate landscape. Stop at the café on Khardung-La Pass, the highest all-season motorable road in the world, and take in the scenery; you'll feel as though you're on top of the world. Upon leaving Khardung-la, the terrain changes to a white sand desert as you approach the Nubra Valley, which is home to the Nubra Sand Dunes. Visit the Diskit Monastery, the oldest and biggest monastery in Ladakh, which also contains a sizable Buddha statue, if time permits.

Security deployment remained in sensitive areas and mobile and internet services were yet to be restored in most parts of the Valley 45 days after the Centre abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution that provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union territories.

The government offices are open but attendance in most of these offices was thin due to the lack of public transport, officials said, adding the offices at the district headquarters registered normal attendance.

A large number of private vehicles and some private taxis, including autorickshaws, were seen plying in many parts of the city and other districts, while some roadside vendors also plied their trade, showing signs of return towards normalcy, they said.

However, markets and other business establishments remained closed while most of the public transport was off the roads across the Valley, the officials said.

The efforts of the state government to open schools up to the high school level have not borne any fruit as parents continued to keep the children at home due to apprehensions about their safety.

While landline telephony services have been restored across the Valley, mobile telephone services in most parts of Kashmir and all internet services continue to remain suspended since 5 August.

Most of the top level and second rung separatist politicians have been taken into preventive custody while mainstream leaders including two former chief ministers — Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — have been either detained or placed under house arrest.

In a surprise move, the government has detained former chief minister and the Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar, Farooq Abdullah, under the controversial Public Safety Act, a law enacted by his father and National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1978 when he was the chief minister.

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