SRINAGAR: Normal life continued to remain affected in the Kashmir Valley as the historic Jamia Masjid in the Nowhatta area of the city here remained closed for congregational prayers for the 12th consecutive on Friday, officials said.
The gates of the Jamia Masjid were shut and security forces’ personnel were deployed in strength in the area, they said. Friday prayers have not been allowed at any of the major mosques or shrines, including the Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta, in the Valley for the past more than two months now.
Authorities have been imposing restrictions in vulnerable areas every Friday in view of apprehensions that vested interests might exploit the huge Friday prayer gatherings at big mosques and shrines to fuel protests.
However, the officials said there were no restrictions anywhere in the Valley. Meanwhile, normal life remained affected across Kashmir as the stalemate, following the abrogation of Article 370 provisions, continued for the 82nd consecutive day on Friday, the officials said.
Main markets and other business establishments were shut across the Valley, even as some shops opened for a few hours early in the morning in some areas, including in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk in the city here, but downed their shutters around 11 am, the officials said.
Private transport was plying, but the number of vehicles was lesser on Friday than Thursday, the officials said. Auto-rickshaws and a few inter-district cabs were also seen plying in few areas of the Valley, they added.
However, the other modes of public transport were off the roads. Internet services across all platforms continued to be snapped in the Valley since the night of August 4 hours before the Centre announced its decision to abrogate provisions of Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into union territories, the officials said.
The internet services were snapped along with mobile and landline telephone services. While the landline telephone services were restored gradually first, the postpaid mobile services were restored only last week.
The prepaid services continued to remain barred. Schools and colleges were open but students stayed away as parents continued to keep their wards at home due to apprehensions about their safety, the officials said.
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.
Another former chief minister and sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah has been arrested 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.