Free Press Journal

Kashmir bursts into life after four months of closure


Kashmiri students greet each other as they leave after sitting secondary school exams at an examination centre in Srinagar on November 14, 2016. Schools in Kashmir have remained closed for more than four months amid the worst unrest in the region for over a decade, but students are continuing with scheduled exams after the government offered concessions regarding the syllabus. / AFP PHOTO / TAUSEEF MUSTAFA

Srinagar: After 132 days of closure, the Kashmir Valley burst into life on Saturday morning with a large number of vehicles out on the roads, and markets, schools, offices and businesses open for the first time in the last over four months of separatist-sponsored shutdown and protests.

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Shoppers thronged Srinagar markets in large numbers even as demonetisation also showed its first signs of inconvenience in the Kashmir Valley where the November 8 surprise announcement had caused little or no effect because businesses and other activities were closed since mid-July.

Many buses and other public vehicles started plying early in the morning as people also came out to attend their offices, open their shops and visit banks to withdraw cash.

Officials said attendance in government offices, banks and post offices was almost full for the first time since the unrest, which left nearly 100 persons dead, started a day after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in a gunfight with security forces on July 8.

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Separatist leaders, who had been spearheading the agitation with their weekly protest calendars, relaxed the shutdown for two days, asking people to resume normal activities over the weekend.

Authorities also did not impose restrictions anywhere on Saturday to facilitate free movement of people and traffic.

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Many places in Srinagar and other district headquarters in the valley witnessed traffic jams as people came out in large numbers to go about their daily chores or simply to have a feel of normalcy.

Students appearing for the ongoing 10th and 12th class annual exams used public transport for the first time to reach the examination centres.