10-day curfew cripples life amid media lockdown in Kashmir

Srinagar: Curfew and a separatist-called shutdown continued for the 10th day on Sunday, crippling normal life across the restive Kashmir Valley with the government ordering schools and colleges to close for one more week amid an information blackout due to a ban on local newspapers. Police said no fresh violence was reported from the valley which has been battling the deadliest unrest in years triggered by the July 8 killing of top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. "The situation in the valley remained more or less under control," a police spokesperson told IANS. But the continuous restrictions, which were imposed immediately after Wani's killing, along with his two militant aides, have paralysed normal life in the valley. Shops and businesses remained shut even as at some places, grocers had partially opened their shops in the morning. People complained that their stocks of groceries and other food items have dried up. The valley is suffering severely due to a shortage of essentials, including medicines. The government on Sunday extended the school and college summer vacations for one more week till July 24. The education institutions were scheduled to reopen on Monday after more than two-week summer and Eid vacations. "The summer vacations in the schools and colleges of the valley have been extended by one week," Education Minister Naeem Akhtar announced here. The decision was taken in view of the ongoing unrest in the valley that has left more than 40 people dead in the last 10 days of street violence. Amid the information blackout forced by the government, no newspaper could hit the stands for the second day on Sunday. The government has asked newspaper owners to suspend publications till Tuesday. But their online editions continued. Cable television operations were allowed on Saturday evening after remaining suspended for a day. But Pakistan-based TV channels and two private Indian channels were not allowed through cable TV. Mobile phone internet and call operations remained suspended in parts of the valley. Mobile phone operations without any internet facility are, however, continuing on post-paid mobile phones provided by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). Train services between Baramulla and Banihal town in the Jammu region also remained suspended. All recruitment interviews scheduled for the next four days have been cancelled by the state Public Service Commission.