Thursday, Feb 20, 2020 | Last Update : 02:13 PM IST

No respite in sight as J&K lockdown enters 25th day

THE ASIAN AGE. | VIKRAM SHARMA
Published : Aug 30, 2019, 3:08 am IST
Updated : Aug 30, 2019, 3:08 am IST

Similarly, threat of attacks or stone-pelting in the Valley could go up in the run up to October 31, when the two UTs will be born.

Day 25 and counting... For the Kashmiris, who have been forced to live in jail-like conditions since August 5 — the day the central government abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into Union Territories — ''azadi'' from lockdown in the Valley is nowhere in sight and is very likely to remain that way for the next two months, if not more. (Photo: PTI/Representational)
 Day 25 and counting... For the Kashmiris, who have been forced to live in jail-like conditions since August 5 — the day the central government abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into Union Territories — ''azadi'' from lockdown in the Valley is nowhere in sight and is very likely to remain that way for the next two months, if not more. (Photo: PTI/Representational)

Hyderabad: Day 25 and counting... For the Kashmiris, who have been forced to live in jail-like conditions since August 5 — the day the central government abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into Union Territories — ''azadi'' from lockdown in the Valley is nowhere in sight and is very likely to remain that way for the next two months, if not more.  

Though the Jammu and Kashmir administration appears to be playing a mind game, what with frequent announcements of ease in restrictions which is not seen or felt on the ground, the indications are that the lockdown will continue till November or even beyond that. Well-informed sources in the security establishment told this newspaper that the lockdown is most likely to continue through September and October and beyond.

First, the 73rd United Nations General Assembly session commences on September 27, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to speak. Second, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will formally become Union Territories on October 31. The assessment of the security agencies is that all eyes will be on the Prime Minister's speech during which the armed forces will have to ensure nothing goes wrong in the valley. Similarly, threat of attacks or stone-pelting in the Valley could go up in the run up to October 31, when the two UTs will be born.

A drive across different parts of the Valley is enough to conclude that the lockdown is complete. Initially, when massive numbers of security forces were rushed to the Kashmir Valley, days before the August 5 announcement, the immediate concern for the security forces was to ensure that peace prevailed till Id-uz-Zuha on August 12 and then August 14 and 15 — the Pakistan and Indian Independence days respectively. All the Fridays since August 5 have seen complete clampdown though there have been sporadic incidents of stone pelting in different parts of the valley leading to injuries to many.

The situation was more or less similar even on Id (August 12) though a day before, the administration had announced that restrictions would be eased and communication restored. But that was not to be. After the Pakistan and Indian Independence days passed off without trouble, the locals were hopeful that the lockdown will now no longer be in force. But it continues without any relief though in districts in Jammu region, all restrictions have been lifted.

The people of the Valley have been complaining of psychological problems due to living in jail-like conditions for the last 25 days and medical services too are hit, but the administration keeps insisting that the situation is now normal though it shows no signs of easing the restrictions. Even the top political leadership of J & K continue to be under detention since August 5.

Tags: article 370, union territories