SRINAGAR: A fraction of Kashmir’s schools reopened today as the administration said restrictions were being eased in phases after two weeks of a security lockdown to avoid trouble over the centre’s decision to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir and split it into two Union Territories. But while teachers and staff showed up in most of these schools, students didn’t. Officials claim two-thirds landlines have been restored in the Kashmir Valley and mobile internet services will be back after a review of the security situation. Hundreds of politicians, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, remain in custody.
Here’s your 10-point cheat-sheet on this big story on Jammu and Kashmir:
- Only 196 primary schools of 900 in Srinagar would reopen today, Shahid Iqbal, the Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar, had said. “We have opened schools only in some areas after reviewing security there. We appeal to parents to send their children wherever schools have been reopened. Security is our responsibility,” he told NDTV.
- But NDTV found that many of the schools had their gates shut after opening in the morning. “Some staff and teachers came, but students never did,” said the employee of a well-known school in the heart of Srinagar.
- All private schools in Srinagar remained shut as parents were apprehensive after violent protests over the past two days.
- According to the Press Trust of India, only the Police Public School at Bemina and a few government-run Kendriya Vidyalayas were open and saw a handful of students.
- Restrictions are back in place in parts of Srinagar after clashes overnight. The decision to allow internet and mobile phones in parts of Jammu has also been reversed, according to an official, amid concerns about the spread of rumours.
- Jammu and Kashmir principal secretary Rohit Kansal said last night that restrictions would be relaxed for longer hours after an assessment of the situation. He admitted that two or three incidents had taken place but he added that only two were injured.
- Asked about the extent of the lockdown, where people could not move out of their homes or use the phone or Internet, K Vijaya Kumar, the adviser to Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik, said the idea was to ensure that no lines were lost.
- “In 2010, around 110 people died. This time, we were sure we wanted to save as many lives as possible,” Mr Vijaya Kumar told NDTV.
- Asked about restrictions that prevented many from celebrating Eid last week, the advisor said: “There were greater restrictions in 2016. Wherever the bigger congregations were likely, we restricted them.”
- He also said landlines had been restored in two-thirds of the Kashmir Valley. “Soon it will touch 100 per cent,” he said, adding that the government’s priority was to prevent the spread of fake news. In Srinagar, despite offices and schools reopening, according to the administration, shops remain closed and roads, largely deserted.