Day 13

Phone link restored partially

SRINAGAR/JAMMU: In a major relief after 13-day lockdown, the J&K Government today partially lifted communication blockade in the state. In Kashmir, 17 of the 96 telephone exchanges were made functional, while low-speed 2G internet was restored in five districts of Jammu on an experimental basis.

Phone link restored partially

A man talks on a landline phone at Sanatnagar in Srinagar. PTI

Ishfaq Tantry & Amit Khajuria

Tribune News Service

Srinagar/Jammu, August 17

In a major relief after 13-day lockdown, the J&K Government today partially lifted communication blockade in the state. In Kashmir, 17 of the 96 telephone exchanges were made functional, while low-speed 2G internet was restored in five districts of Jammu on an experimental basis.

Rohit Kansal, a government spokesman, said 23,000 landline connections, which constituted about 50 per cent of the total connections, had been restored in the Valley by Saturday evening.

“The process of providing relaxations and easing of restrictions is already in progress. Barring a few vulnerable areas, we hope to make all telephone exchanges functional by tomorrow evening,” Kansal said. According to officials, 2G mobile internet services had been restored in Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi districts around midnight following an order by the Inspector General of Police, Jammu zone. No relaxation had been given in other five districts (Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Poonch and Rajouri) where only landline phones were working. Kansal said: “Relaxations have been provided in 35 police stations — 15 in north Kashmir, 10 in central Kashmir and 10 in south Kashmir. Situation is being closely watched by the administration. We are getting encouraging reports of normal traffic movement from lot of rural areas. We are looking forward to opening of schools beginning with primary ones. All government offices will be fully functional from Monday.”

Meanwhile, at least eight persons were injured in clashes reported from the Valley where “restrictions were not lifted today”. Eyewitnesses said stone pelting took place in Singhpora, Sopore and Chadoora in Budgam. Shops in Srinagar remained closed.

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