The Indian government yesterday said it would unblock most mobile telephone lines in Kashmir in a major easing of a two-month-old security clampdown since cancelling the region’s autonomy, but a grenade attack in the main city highlighted tensions over New Delhi’s actions.
Police said militants threw a grenade in a market area near the old town in Srinagar injuring seven people.
Most stores, schools and businesses across Kashmir have been closed since the Hindu nationalist government brought the region under tighter central control on August 5.
But the easing of the communications blockade was the latest bid by the authorities to show that its tough policies were working.
Government spokesman Rohit Kansal told a press conference in Srinagar, just before the grenade blast, that authorities had decided to end the phone blockade after a security review in the Muslim-majority Himalayan region.
All phones linked to a monthly subscription “will stand restored and be functional from noon on Monday,” he said, adding that the measure would apply to all of Kashmir.
The New Delhi government imposed a mobile phone and internet blackout as part of a huge security clampdown to back its annulment of Kashmir’s constitutionally guaranteed autonomy. Tens of thousands of extra troops were also sent in an operation that critics said virtually cut off Kashmir from the outside world.
Kansal said restrictions on public movement had been lifted in “99 percent” of Kashmir but gave no indication on whether internet services