Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday sought the cooperation of all political parties to restore normalcy in the valley where more than 40 people have died and nearly 2,000 injured in clashes between protesters and security forces triggered by the death of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani.
National Conference, the state’s main opposition party, is not participating in the all-party meet convened by Mufti to review the situation in the valley.
“The situation is sensitive that is why we are here. We have made mistakes in the past but want to learn from our mistakes, we want to talk about them,” Mehbooba said in Srinagar’s Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC).
“We seek guidance from you all as the parties here have worked in Kashmir for decades,” added.
The government asked its employees to resume services in many districts in the valley, including Srinagar. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party’s media adviser Suhail Bukhari also said schools will be opened in at least four districts in Kashmir.
Newspapers returned to the stands across Kashmir with prominent publications carrying front-page articles against the five-day media gag that triggered widespread condemnation in the valley.
Most people said getting back their daily news fix was a physiological relief – because the media clampdown had started to fuel rumours – but newspapers made their displeasure with the gag public.
An uneasy calm prevailed on the 13th day of curfew in Kashmir even as protests planned at night poured in from many parts. Young men staged demonstrations across Srinagar on late Wednesday and raised pro-freedom slogans in mosques.
Many areas in the city observed complete blackout by switching off lights for nearly an hour in the evening.
The protests were in response to a separatist call to observe July 20 as “Black Day” against the recent civilian killings. Pakistan too also observed July 20 as “Black Day” to express solidarity with Kashmiris.
Separatists have asked people to resume normal work in the valley after 2pm on Thursday but local residents are likely to observe a complete shutdown till Friday.