Hyderabad: Day 25 and counting… For the Kashmiris, who have been forced to live in jail-like conditions since August 5 – the day the central government abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into Union territories — Azadi from lockdown in the valley is nowhere in sight and is very likely to remain that way for the next two months, if not more.
Though the Jammu and Kashmir administration appears to be playing a mind game, what with frequent announcements of ease in restrictions which is not seen or felt on the ground, the indications are that the lockdown will continue till November or even beyond that.
Well-informed sources in the security establishment told Deccan Chronicle that the lockdown is most likely to continue through September and October and beyond. First, the 73rd UN General Assembly session commences on September 27, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to speak.
Second, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will formally become Union Territories on October 31. The assessment of the security agencies is that all eyes will be on the Prime Minister’s speech during which the armed forces will have to ensure nothing goes wrong in the valley. Similarly, the threat of attacks or stone-pelting in the valley could go up in the run-up to October 31, when the two UTs will be born.
A drive across different parts of the Valley is enough to conclude that the lockdown is complete. Initially, when massive numbers of security forces were rushed to the Kashmir valley, days before the announcement, the immediate concern was to ensure that peace prevailed till Id-uz-Zuha on August 12 and then August 14 and 15.