- Phone services and internet were partly restored in J&K
- Thousands of security personnel remain positioned in Kashmir valley
- Around 400 political leaders remain in custody
After five days of a security lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir, phone services and internet were partly restored this morning and restrictions were eased to facilitate Friday prayers and Eid celebrations next week. Thousands of security personnel remain positioned across the Kashmir Valley to watch out for any trouble following the centre's decision to end special status and turn Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.
The gates of the Jama Masjid in Srinagar's old quarter were shut, but prayers were allowed in smaller mosques in the interiors. In visuals, groups of people were seen on roads for the first time in days.
"People are allowed to pray within their neighbourhood, there is no restriction on that," state police chief Dilbag Singh told news agency AFP this morning. "But they should not venture out of their local area," he said.
The decision to ease restrictions was taken after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who visited Srinagar today, asked officials to ensure that no Kashmiris were harassed, news agency PTI reported.
Around 400 political leaders, including former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, remain in custody as the government tries to avoid protests or rallies.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the nation on his Kashmir decisions on Thursday, said the government would ensure that people didn't face any difficulties during Eid-ul-Adha celebrations on Monday.
"The government is providing every possible help to our friends who live outside Jammu and Kashmir and want to go back for Eid," PM Modi said.
Because of a communication breakdown, people of the state living in other parts of the country were not able to contact their families.
PM Modi also acknowledged the problems faced by the people amid the lockdown.
"The freedom from Article 370 is a reality. But another reality is that people have faced problems due to the precautionary measures (taken by the government). They are facing that too," he added.
Despite the curfew-like restrictions in the Kashmir Valley, several Kashmiris have been taking flights to Srinagar to spend Eid with their families.