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Colleges reopen in Kashmir but students stay away

Srinagar: The efforts of the Jammu and Kashmir administration to reopen colleges in the Valley on Wednesday failed as students did not report to classwork, on the 66th consecutive day since the abrogation of the state’s special status under Article 370 on August 5.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Khan had last week announced that the schools would reopen on October 3 and the colleges on October 9 in Kashmir. The staff reported for work at the colleges but the students stayed away, officials said. Students also have not attended schools despite the administration’s several attempts.

The parents are reluctant to send their children to schools or colleges as they fear for their safety amid the shutdown and communication blackout in most parts of the valley.

On Wednesday, normal life continued to remain disrupted across Kashmir. In the city, public transport remained off the roads but a massive traffic jam could be seen at the Jehangir Chowk crossing as private vehicles swarmed the commercial hub of Lal Chowk and surrounding areas.

To register their protest against the abrogation of the special status of the state, shopkeepers open their shops early in the morning till around 11 am and then down the shutters.

The shutdown has come as boon for the roadside vendors, who have been regularly setting up their stalls along the Residency Road and around the Polo View area of the city, witnessing a brisk footfall of customers.

While landline telephony services have been restored across the valley, mobile telephone services in most parts of Kashmir and all internet services continue to remain suspended since 5 August. Most of the top level and second rung separatist politicians have been taken into preventive custody while mainstream leaders including two former chief ministers – Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti – have been either detained or placed under house arrest.

Another former chief minister and Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah has been arrested under the controversial Public Safety act.

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