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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

India Announces Gradual Easing of Blockade in Kashmir

NEW DELHI – The government of India announced on Friday a gradual easing of restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir that have kept the people in the region cut off after New Delhi decided to revoke the state’s special status and said that telecommunications would be restored later in the night.

“We are now taking measures to ease the restrictions in a gradual, calibrated manner after today’s Friday prayers, that according to reports, have gone quite peacefully in the state,” Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said at a press conference.

Besides restrictions on the right of movement and assembly, the government had also cut off telecommunication lines and internet which, according to Subrahmanyam was “a point of sore concern.”

Mobile networks will resume functioning “from tonight and tomorrow onwards.”

He further added that most of Srinagar would begin functioning over the weekend.

The situation in Kashmir, one of the heaviest militarized zones in the world, “will become completely normal” in the coming days.

The blockade in the Muslim-majority region has been imposed since Aug. 4, which the Indian government justified over alleged terror threats.

A day after the Indian government presented a bill to revoke Article 370, a constitutional provision that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir for more than seventy years.

The bill, which was passed in the two houses of the Parliament in two days, divided the state into two union territories – of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh – which will now be centrally-ruled.

The decision led to protests in Kashmir, although the central government repeatedly denied it.

The two countries, which have fought two wars over Kashmir, claim the divided territory in its entirety.

The region has witnessed separatist insurgency since the 1990s, which according to New Delhi, has been provoked by Islamabad.

 

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