14 hours relaxation in Curfew today after Kishtwar passes Monday test peacefully

TNN Bureau. Updated: 4/16/2019 11:51:56 AM Front Page

Mobile internet restored, Army columns withdrawn

JAMMU: Curfew-bound Kishtwar district limped back to normalcy, as authorities gave relaxation in restriction for four-and-a-half hour on Monday, even as Army columns deployed across the district were also withdrawn.

The improvement in the overall law and order situation, also allowed the authorities to restore mobile internet services after remaining suspended for the past six days after the Law and Order situation erupted following the killing of senior RSS leader Chanderkant Sharma and his security guard by militants inside district hospital.

The communally-sensitive district will face the real normalcy test on Tuesday when there would be straight 14 hours of relaxation from 6 in the morning till 8 in evening. Based on the situation, the district authorities are likely to lift the curfew on Wednesday, a day before the elections to Lok Sabha are scheduled to take place there.

The curfew, which was promulgated in the town and adjoining areas Tuesday last week following the killings was relaxed for 4 hours and 30 minutes in two phases on Monday, during which no untoward incident was reported from across the district.

"The situation is fast limping back to normalcy...the mobile internet services were restored, while the curfew was relaxed from 12.00 pm to 3 pm for the first time in the entire town," district development commissioner, Kishtwar, A S Rana informed The News Now.

“We had plans to extend the relaxation for another three hours, but keeping in view the presence of Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad in the town, we had to re-impose the curfew from 3 to 5 pm,” he said.

Azad was in the town to attend the last rites of a local Congress leader.

“From 5 pm till 6:30 pm, the curfew was relaxed again. Heavy rush of shoppers was witnessed in the main markets. The relaxation period passed off peacefully,” Rana said.

Asserting that the situation is well under control, Rana said that the curfew will be relaxed from 6 am till 8 pm on Tuesday.

“We will be monitoring the situation and any further decision on curfew will be an outcome of how the things pan out tomorrow,” Rana said.

He also added that army columns deployed in the town have been withdrawn.

The RSS leader's killing had triggered violent protests with angry mourners ransacking the office of the senior superintendent of police, prompting authorities to impose strict curfew in the communally-sensitive town and adjoining areas.

Earlier, authorities had relaxed the curfew in a phased manner for one hour on April 12 and again for a few hours in different phases on Sunday. Minor incidents of protests were witnessed in some parts of the curfew-bound town Saturday, following which no relaxation was given in the curfew.

The mobile internet services were suspended in the entire Chenab Valley belt comprising Kishtwar, Doda and Rajouri districts Tuesday, but were restored in Doda and Ramban districts Friday night.
With no untoward incident reported in Kishtwar, the internet services were also restored there this afternoon, the officials said.

Police had picked up several over ground workers (OGWs) for interrogation in connection with the killing of Sharma and his PSO by terrorists, while a massive hunt is on to nab the culprits.

Police has also seized the car used in the attack and released a picture of its owner, Zahid Hussain, who had been absconding since the day of the attack.

Kishtwar, which is part of the Udhampur-Kathua Lok Sabha constituency, goes to polls in the second phase of elections on April 18. The campaigning has been hit badly due to curfew for the past one week

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