UNION Home Minister Amit Shah visited Jammu& Kashmir on Tuesday for the first time since Articles 370 and 35- A were scrapped in J & K and converting the erstwhile state into two Union Territories. A delegation of Jammu & Kashmir Panchayat Association called on him to discuss the aftermath of resolution of Article 370 and Article 35A.”We will meet Home Minister Amit Shah. The reason for the meeting is to talk about the abrogation of Article 370. Agenda is to discuss the abrogation of Article 370. We will also talk about Panchayat empowerment,” state president of All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Association, Anil Sharma said while briefing the media.Meanwhile,an official spokesman said in Srinagar that over 90 per cent of Kashmir Valley was free of daytime restrictions on Monday as authorities eased curbs in 92 police station areas in view of the improving situation. Referring to stone-pelting incidents, Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal, who is also the state government spokesperson, a total of 152 “significant incidents” have been witnessed in the past three weeks out of which 125 were in Srinagar alone.”Out of 111 police stations and daytime restrictions have been fully lifted in 92 police station areas out of them, which makes about 90 per cent of the valley restrictions-free,” he said.Kansal said landline telephone services have been restored in 76 exchanges out of the total of 95 and the mobile phones are working in the regions of Jammu and Ladakh. “Over 26,000 landline telephones are functional across the valley and it has improved the communication services which is evident from the fact that while 2,500 calls were being made from the deputy commissioner Srinagar’s facility before, it has now seen a fall by over 85 per cent,” he said.Some detained political leaders were now being allowed visits by their families.Jammu and Kashmir’s three former chief ministers Farooq and Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti as well as others are now allowed brief visits in accordance with the jail manual, officials said. The spokesperson said government offices have attained full functionality and the staff attendance is very good. Giving details about the status of schools in the valley, Kansal said over 4,000 primary, middle and high schools are functioning in Kashmir Vally. “The attendance of teachers has improved and the attendance of children, though low in some places, is also improving,” he said.
The principal secretary said public transport is returning to roads and inter-district connectivity is now available. The movement of fruit trucks has also improved and is up to 300 per day now. “Over 1.5 lakh metric tons of fruit have been sent to various sale points outside the state,” he said.The government spokesperson said all medical facilities and hospitals were functioning normally.Giving details, Kansal said over 2.5 lakh OPD and over 20,000 IPD patients were registered in various hospitals since August 5, while over 200 major surgeries were conducted.Kansal said that despite easing of the restrictions, threats by some anti-national elements have kept the markets from opening.”Incidents at Parimpora and stone-pelting at a local driver are unfortunate and have been taken due cognizance of by the security agencies.”About 100 of them were in just five police station areas and over 125 of these have been in Srinagar district alone, indicating that the rest of nine districts have seen hardly any incident. The officials said barricades have been removed from most areas of the valley, but deployment of security forces continued on the ground to maintain law and order. Landline telephone services have been restored in most parts of the valley, the officials said, adding, however, the services remained snapped in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk and Press Enclave in Srinagar.The mobile services and internet, including BSNL’s Broadband and private leased-line internet, were snapped on August 5 after the Centre abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution and reorganized the state into two Union territories.