SRINAGAR: There is no respite for the people of Kashmir as life remains crippled since the clampdown following the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35-A over a month ago. For the seventh week, no Friday prayers were held in the historic Jamia Masjid of Srinagar, even as the government has slapped the Public Safety Act (PSA) on Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani, as was done to former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah.
All efforts by the Centre and J&K authorities to bring back normalcy have hit a roadblock. Even after J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik introduced the market intervention scheme for apple growers, there has not been much improvement in sales.
Healthcare has been the biggest casualty in Kashmir valley and hundreds of patients have been suffering due to either government restrictions or civil curfew. Sources said ambulances cannot be contacted as there no telephone service is available and a number of patients who need chemotherapy and other medical interventions, face a lot of difficulties to reach hospitals due to lack of public transport. In some cases, patients are forced to walk along with their attendants to reach hospitals.
With no mobile connectivity and internet service available hundreds of students have shifted out of Kashmir to prepare for different examinations. Although the authorities earlier claimed that schools have been reopened in Kashmir, students are not going to the schools. Similarly, colleges and other higher education institutions have not resumed regular classes as telephone services in most parts of Kashmir and all internet services continue to remain suspended. While private schools of Kashmir have provided assignments and video tutorials to the students for home study, government schools have no such arrangements in place for students. A number of private coach ing institutions have shifted Kashmiri students, after consultations with their parents, to Himachal Pradesh.
Authorities are lifting and re-imposing restrictions in sensitive areas of Kashmir. Transporters have claimed that their vehicles were taken by police on 4-5 August and since then the vehicles have been with them. A senior officer in the district administration of Srinagar said that most State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) vehicles have been hired by the police and paramilitary forces.
Meanwhile, Kashmir Press Club representatives met Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Range) S.P. Pani and informed him about the difficulties being faced by journalists in discharging their duties.