The Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday announced that Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will be Union Territories from 31 October. The news came after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to The Jammu And Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019.
Earlier on Friday, restrictions — imposed in the wake of the removal of special status for Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state — were eased in Kashmir to allow people to offer Friday prayers. The heavy security deployment remained in place, and an official told PTI that the Valley was largely peaceful barring minor incidents of stone-pelting in Sopore in north Kashmir.
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 (NSA) Ajit Doval directed authorities to ensure that no Kashmiri is harassed.
According to PTI, Doval, who has been camping in Srinagar since Tuesday, spoke to locals and security personnel during a quick tour of the sensitive downtown area on Friday.
The NSA, accompanied by his aides and senior police officers, visited the Eidgah locality and stopped at various places to interact with the locals, the news agency said. He later spoke to police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and thanked them for maintaining law and order.
Doval also met Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik at the Raj Bhavan, where the duo discussed the prevailing scenario. They emphasised on the importance of reaching out to people and helping them meet their daily needs, besides ensuring their safety and security, an official told PTI.
Malik also discussed the arrangements made by the administration to facilitate people for the observance of Eid-ul-Azha with religious fervour and gaiety.
Fresh batch of 20 'potential troublemakers' shifted to Agra
The Jammu and Kashmir authorities airlifted a fresh batch of 20 "potential troublemakers" from Srinagar to Agra, officials told PTI on Friday.
The people, who have a history of being involved in separatist activities, were taken out of Kashmir in a special Indian Air Force plane, they said. They are alleged to be active members of separatist groups in Kashmir.
They were taken in a special IAF plane to Uttar Pradesh and lodged in Agra Central Jail. This came a day after the authorities airlifted about 25 to 70 people as a precautionary measure in the wake of constitutional changes made by the government.
Prohibitory orders withdrawn in Jammu
The Jammu district administration on Friday withdrew prohibitory orders under Section 144 imposed on 5 August. According to the order issued by Jammu district magistrate Sushma Chauhan, all schools, colleges and academic institutions should resume their functioning normally from Saturday.
Yechury, D Raja detained at Srinagar airport
CPM general-secretary Sitaram Yecury and CPI chief D Raja were not allowed to enter Jammu and Kashmir on Friday and were sent back from Srinagar airport after a brief detention. The Left leaders had gone to Srinagar to meet CPM leader Mohammad Tarigami and other party colleagues.
"They showed us a legal order which did not allow any entry into Srinagar. It stated that even escorted movement into the city was not permitted due to security reasons," Yechury told PTI over phone. Later, party sources said they have been sent back to Delhi.
Yechury and Raja had written to Malik on Thursday informing him of their visit and requesting him to facilitate their entry. On Thursday, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad was detained and sent back to Delhi from the Srinagar airport.
Yechury later lashed out at the Centre over the "suppression of basic freedoms" on Twitter.
Com D Raja and I were not allowed to leave Srinagar airport to meet our comrades. This detention at the airport is a violation of our democratic rights. We strongly protest this suppression of basic freedoms by the Centre and stand in solidarity with the people of Kashmir. https://t.co/M8TXD0mfs3
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) August 9, 2019
MEA slams Pakistan over 'unilateral' moves
A day after Pakistan decided to downgrade diplomatic relations and suspend bilateral trade with India, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson said Islamabad was "nervous" following India's decisions on Kashmir.
"It is time for Pakistan to accept reality and stop interfering in internal affairs of India," Kumar said.
He also said that India has asked Pakistan to reconsider its decisions. "It is important to understand that the action taken by Pakistan is unilateral. We have urged them to reconsider it. But we think it is part of their attempt to present an alarming picture to the world. But I don't think they have succeeded in that," he 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 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 Home Minister Amit Shah in the Rajya Sabha about revoking provisions of Article 370.
During the easing of restrictions in some parts of Srinagar, especially in the civil line areas on Thursday, movement of the people remained thin, while a few shops mostly selling vegetables and medicines opened.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Aug 09, 2019 21:36:10 IST