J&K Government spokesman Rohit Kansal along with Inspector General of Police Swayam Prakash Pani addresses a press conference, in Srinagar on Saturday. Syed Sehrish Asgar, Director Information and Public Relations is also seen. (R) A man talks on phone after restoration of landline phones in some areas, at Sanatnagar in Srinagar on Saturday. (PTI)
By Sumir Kaul, M Inayat Jehangir and Sheikh Suhail Bashir :
Landline services partially restored
2G mobile internet services restored in five Jammu districts
Primary schools to reopen from Monday
RESTRICTIONS on the movement of people were eased and landline phone services restored in some areas of Kashmir Valley on Saturday, even as stringent security arrangements remained in place, officials said. They said the restrictions have been relaxed in 35 police station areas of Kashmir, while 17 telephone exchanges, out of the total 96, have been made functional. More than 50,000 landline phones were operational now, the officials said, adding that the services will be restored in other areas in a “calibrated manner”. Security forces continued to man barricades on the roads but allowed people to move after checking their credentials, they said. Government spokesperson Rohit Kansal said primary schools across the Valley will reopen on Monday and Government offices will also be fully functional from then. Some shops in the Civil Lines area opened on Saturday morning, the officials said, adding that there was increase in movement of private vehicles.
The officials said landline services were restored in some areas of Srinagar like Civil Lines, Cantonment, airport, Raj Bagh and Jawahar Nagar, but remained suspended in most parts, including the commercial hub of Lal Chowk and Press Enclave. They said 20 more exchanges will be operationalised soon. The restoration of exchanges had enabled landline services in Budgam, Sonamarg and Manigam areas of central Kashmir. In north Kashmir, the services have been restored in Gurez, Tangmarg, Uri Keran Karnah and Tangdhar areas. In south Kashmir, the landline services have been made operational in Qazigund and Pahalgam areas.
There was increase in movement of private vehicles in the Civil Lines areas and other district headquarters of the Valley, the officials said, adding that some inter-district cabs were also seen plying in Dalgate area of the summer capital. Most of the business establishments, including fuel stations, remained shut. Addressing a press conference, Kansal said the relaxations have been eased out in 35 police station areas. “The process of providing relaxation and easing out of restrictions is already in progress. Relaxation has been provided in 35 police station areas across the length and breadth of the Valley and so far, there are no reports of any untoward incident.
The public transport is plying and we have encouraging reports of a lot of public movement,” Kansal said. “The endeavour is to make at least half of the exchanges in the Valley functional by today evening and by tomorrow evening, all of the exchanges, barring few in the vulnerable areas, would be made functional,” he said. Kansal said in Jammu region, landlines and mobile phone services are functional and mobile internet services with some functionality in at least five districts have been restored.
Low-speed (2G) mobile internet services have been restored in five districts of Jammu region and restrictions relaxed in 35 police stations in the Kashmir Valley, state police chief Dilbag Singh said on Saturday. On a question of release of detained political leaders, Kansal said such a decision would be taken by local authorities based on the law and order situation in their respective areas. Kashmir was placed under a total clampdown on August 5, hours before the Centre announced its move to abrogate provisions of Article 370 that gave Special Status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Lance Naik Sandeep Thapa
Solider killed in Pak firing, Army responds strongly
A SOLDIER was killed on Saturday as Pakistan violated ceasefire by shelling forward posts and villages along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri district, prompting strong response from the Indian Army which inflicted casualties and heavy damage to Pakistan Army posts, a defence spokesman said here.
Lance Naik Sandeep Thapa (35), a resident of village Rajawala in Sahaspur district of Dehradun, sustained fatal injuries in the Pakistani firing in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district, Jammu-based defence PRO Lt Col Devender Anand said. He said the “unprovoked firing” from across the border started at around 6.30 am and continued intermittently throughout the day.
“Indian Army responded strongly and effectively. Heavy damage to Pakistan Army posts and casualties to Pakistan soldiers have been inflicted by our troops,” he said.The latest ceasefire violation comes two days after Pakistan claimed that its four soldiers were killed in firing by Indian troops on their posts along the LoC. “Lance Naik Thapa, who is survived by his wife Nisha Thapa, was a brave, highly motivated and sincere soldier.
The nation will always remain indebted to him for the supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty,” the spokesman said. Last month, two Army personnel and a 10-day-old baby were killed and several civilians injured in heavy Pakistani shelling and firing in the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region.