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India eases restrictions in Kashmir for Eid Al Adha

AP
Filed on August 11, 2019 | Last updated on August 11, 2019 at 10.30 am
Kashmir issue, Kashmir, Pakistan ban, India, Jammu and Kashmir, Article 370, Delhi, Srinagar, Eid, Eid Al Adha

(AFP)

More than 250 ATMs have been made functional and bank branches have opened.

Authorities in Kashmir say restrictions have been eased in most parts of Srinagar, the main city, ahead of Eid Al Adha festival following India’s decision to strip the region of its constitutional autonomy.

Magistrate Shahid Choudhary in a tweet says that more than 250 ATMs have been made functional and bank branches have opened for people to withdraw money ahead of Monday’s Eid Al Adha festival.

There has been no immediate independent confirmation of reports by authorities on Sunday that people are visiting shopping areas for festival purchases as all communications and the internet remain cut off.

India’s main opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said there are reports of violence and “people dying” in the region.

Talking to reporters in New Delhi, Gandhi said "things are going very wrong there," and called for the Indian government to make clear what is happening.

Authorities in Srinagar, the region's main city, said there have been instances of stone pelting by protesters but no gun firing by security forces in the past six days. Television images on Saturday showed movement of cars and people in some parts of Kashmir.

"There has been no untoward incident barring minor stone-pelting, which was dealt with on the spot and was nipped in the bud," Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh told the Press Trust of India news agency.

On Thursday, Modi assured the people of Jammu and Kashmir that normalcy would gradually return and that the government was ensuring that the current restrictions do not dampen the festival of Eid Al Adha on Monday.

The indefinite 24-hour curfew was briefly eased on Friday for weekly Muslim prayers in some parts of Srinagar, but thousands of residents are still forced to stay indoors with shops and most health clinics closed. All communications and the internet remain cut off.

Authorities were closely watching for any protests, which will determine a further easing of restrictions for the Eid holiday.

The region's top administrative official, Baseer Khan, said that essential commodities including food, grains and meat will be delivered to different parts of the region by Sunday.

In the meantime, most residents have been waking up before dawn to get food and other supplies stockpiled by neighbourhood shopkeepers and pharmacists inside their homes. Shortly after dawn, police and paramilitary soldiers swiftly occupy the roads and streets as part of the restrictions on movement.

While some easing on the movement and opening of shops is expected around Eid, officials still held reservations about restoring mobile and internet services. Some relaxation of curbs on landline communication, however, could be considered, they said.


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