Jammu and Kashmir to open all religious places from August 16 with certain restrictions
New Delhi: The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday (August 4) decided to open all religious places from August 16, but religious processions and large religious gatherings would remain strictly prohibited amid COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Ahead of the first anniversary of the scrapping of Article 370, which granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, a two-day curfew was imposed in the Kashmir Valley on Tuesday.
The decision to this effect was reportedly taken at the security core group meeting, chaired by Lt general BS Raju, GOC of army`s Srinagar headquartered 15 corps, held in Srinagar on Monday.
The decision was taken following specific inputs that separatists and Pakistan sponsored groups were planning to hold violent protests which could endanger public order, according to sources.
The Srinagar administration, however, today announced the lifting of curfew as the situation here remained incident-free but strict restrictions would continue in areas that have seen a spike in COVID-19 cases.
An order was issued by Deputy Commissioner Shahid Choudhury saying that after assessing the situation in the area, it has been decided to prematurely end the curfew which was slated to continue till Wednesday night.
The restrictions ordered earlier under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code and the Disaster Management Act, in view of the prevailing situation due to the COVID-19 disease, will remain enforced across the district as directed through an order issued on July 31.
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir government has classified the districts into red, orange, and green zones depending on the severity of COVID-19 spread in the areas and declared the entire Kashmir region, except Bandipora, as a "red zone".
The categorisation has been done to implement restrictions after August 5, when the current phase of lockdown in the union territory ends, according to an order issued by the chairperson of the State Executive Committee.
The order declared all districts of Kashmir, except Bandipora, and Ramban district of Jammu as red zones. Kathua, Samba, Bandipora, Reasi, Udhampur, Poonch, Rajouri, and Jammu districts are in the orange zone and Doda and Kishtwar are in the green zone.
The Lakhanpur containment zone on the national highway will be a red/containment zone with a 500-metre buffer, the order stated.
It said the classification of districts has been done after a detailed review of the COVID situation with top officials, and it will be reviewed periodically.
The review included the recent spike in new cases in view of the movement of people to J&K and between districts.
Notably, Jammu and Kashmir today recorded 390 COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of infections to 22,396. Ten fatalities in the last 24 hours pushed the death toll from the disease to 417, according to the official statement.
(With Agency Inputs)