Kashmir moves towards normalcy after curfew lifted

September 2nd, 2008 - 12:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Sep 2 (IANS) Offices, shops and business establishments opened for work and traffic was back on the road Tuesday as curfew was lifted in the Kashmir Valley, though restrictions continued on the assembly of more than four people. “Curfew has been lifted from throughout the valley today. Restrictions under Section 144 of the criminal penal code according to which assembly of five or more persons is deemed unlawful would, however, be strictly enforced,” said a senior police officer.

Senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, who had been arrested on Aug 24 and Aug 25, were released Monday.

The joint coordination committee of both the Hurriyat groups has also asked people to resume normal activities for three days — Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“The future programme of the joint coordination committee would be announced on Thursday,” a spokesperson told reporters.

Curfew had been imposed in the valley on Aug 24, the eve of the proposed separatist march to the city centre Lal Chowk here.

The dispute over land for the Amarnath pilgrims led to polarisation in Jammu and Kashmir, with Hindu majority Jammu for the move and Muslim dominated Kashmir against it. The controversy snowballed into major protests with curfews and shutdowns paralysing life in both parts for almost three months.

On Sunday, the agreement to set aside 40 hectares of land for the Amarnath pilgrims during the duration of the pilgrimage led to Jammu quietening down, though protests were still heard in Kashmir.

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