Jammu and Kashmir administration has made arrangements to ensure “smooth and peaceful” Friday prayers amid a lockdown after the center’s move to scrap special status to the state and declare it as a union territory. Phone services and internet have been partly restored in the state for the first time in five days. Thousands of security personnel remain positioned across the Kashmir Valley to watch out for any trouble following the centre’s decision to end special status and turn the state into two union territories.
The gates of the Jama Masjid in Srinagar were shut, indicating that prayers were unlikely in the city’s main mosque. However, prayers would be allowed in smaller mosques in the interiors, said officials, and enough personnel had been posted to ensure order.
Restrictions may be reduced further if the prayers take place without any trouble, officials said.
Yesterday, in his 38 minute speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured that the centre’s decisions would remove hurdles to Jammu and Kashmir’s development and make it the world’s top tourist destination.
The Prime Minister’s special address came two days after the government’s move on Jammu and Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed no major incident of violence over the past three days. On Wednesday, visuals of National Security Adviser Ajit Doval chatting and sharing a meal of traditional Kashmiri Wazwan with locals in the Kashmir Valley emerged amid lockdown.
The parliament has approved a resolution abrogating special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution. It also cleared a bill to split the state into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Over 300 political leaders, including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, remain in custody as part of the government’s measures since midnight on Sunday to avoid trouble.
Over 40,000 troops have been stationed in Jammu and Kashmir, sent over the past weeks in the government’s meticulous preps for its Article 370 move.