Kashmir put under strict lockdown

Strict restrictions were imposed across Kashmir on Monday with the officials maintaining that it was done to prevent any further spread of COVID-19.

All shops and other business establishments remained closed across Kashmir while the public transport was off the roads. Pertinently, it was a holiday today for the government offices on account of Raksha Bandhan.

Curiously, the strict restrictions came two days ahead of the first anniversary of revocation of the special status of the erstwhile J&K state. The central government on 5 August 2019 scrapped Articles 370 and 35-A which granted special constitutional position to J&K and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two union territories— J&K and Ladakh.

Officials here said that the decision to tighten the lockdown restrictions was taken following surge in positive cases in the valley.

The joint contingents of police and paramilitary forces had erected barricades on the roads and blocked them with razor wire. The security forces had laid concertina wires to block the roads.

Only people associated with essentials supplies were allowed to move. “Restrictions are part of nation-wide lockdown,” police said adding that the people were cooperating.

Meanwhile, sources said that police seized several vehicles across valley for violating lockdown. “Many shopkeepers were also fined or booked for lockdown violations,” they said.

It may be recalled that the UT administration had first announced a lockdown across Jammu and Kashmir on 22 March as part of its efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. On 19 March the UT had recorded its first positive case from Srinagar.

The lockdown was gradually eased in June and the markets in the city reopened after about three months in the second week of June. However, due to rising cases of covid-19 the restrictions soon returned to the Valley parts.