Life in Kashmir limping back to normalcy

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Passenger vehicles today plied in the city for the first time in more than four months since the unrest began in Kashmir, which is gradually returning to normalcy. The Class 10 annual board examinations started today, while those of Class 12 began yesterday, marking the first major educational activity in the Valley where schools were shut due to violence triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces.

A Kashmiri couple takes their sick child to a hospital as Indian paramilitary soldiers clash with protesters in the background, during curfew in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016. Authorities on Friday imposed curfew in some parts of Srinagar to foil a pro-freedom march to the Grand mosque called by separatist leaders. The march was called in protest after no one was allowed to pray inside the mosque on Fridays for nearly 16 weeks. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
A Kashmiri couple takes their sick child to a hospital as Indian paramilitary soldiers clash with protesters in the background, during curfew in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016. Authorities on Friday imposed curfew in some parts of Srinagar to foil a pro-freedom march to the Grand mosque called by separatist leaders. The march was called in protest after no one was allowed to pray inside the mosque on Fridays for nearly 16 weeks. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

The separatists have been issuing weekly programme of protests and strike. Many passenger vehicles, including buses, were plying on the city roads today. This is for the first time in more than four months now that buses were seen on the roads during the strike period, officials said.

They said apart from the buses, there was an increase in number of cabs and auto-rickshaws plying in the summer capital here. The increased movement of transport and people gave a semblance of normalcy in the city, with the authorities deploying more traffic police personnel to man the roads in the city which witnessed traffic snarls at a few places, they said.

Similar reports of increased movement of people and transport were received from other district headquarters of the Valley, the officials said, adding inter-district transport has also significantly improved. However, some other facets of life remained affected in the Valley for the 129th consecutive day due to the separatist sponsored strike.

Shops were open in several areas in the civil lines and outskirts of the city as well as in few of the rural areas in other districts of Kashmir. But many remained shut due to the strike. Many vendors had put up their stalls along TRC Chowk-Batamaloo axis through Lal Chowk city centre, while banks were also open across the Valley and witnessed rush of customers.

As many as 85 people, including two police men, have been killed and several thousand others injured in the ongoing unrest in the Valley. Around 5,000 security forces personnel have also been injured in the clashes.

(With inputs from PTI)

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