Limited access to the 2G mobile service was restored in Kashmir on the eve of the Republic Day on Saturday. The government allowed the locals to access 301 ‘whitelisted’ websites for the first time since August 5. However, the fixed line broadband Internet service was not restored.
Locals said the Internet link was erratic and the 2G service was unable to connect even with the ‘whitelisted’ websites. Access to all social media platforms remains barred. “Hours after the Internet was restored, it stopped functioning in the evening ,” Naveed Dar, a BSNL user, said.
Three militants dead
Meanwhile, security forces killed three militants of the Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) planning an attack during the Republic Day and arrested seven militants of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
“We got information that some JeM militants were planning some act on January 26. We launched the operation in Tral [in Pulwama district] on Saturday morning and eliminated all of them,” 15 Corps General Officer Commanding Lt. Gen. K.J.S. Dhillon said in Srinagar.
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He said the Army’s retaliatory action along the Line of Control (LoC) was paying dividends. “Pakistan’s Director-General of Military Operations called up his counterpart recently and requested for a halt to the action because of the heavy casualty inflicted on the Pakistani Army and terrorists.”
The three militants were identified as Qari Yasir, the outfit’s chief in south Kashmir, and Omar, both non-locals, and Burhan Sheikh, a resident of Tral.
Exchange of fire
Trapped in a house at Hari Parigam in the morning, they exchanged fire with the security forces before being killed, the police said.
The encounter comes days after the security forces gunned down two JeM militants in Tral in a two-day operation.
At least 12 militants have been killed in the Valley this month. The police said seven militants were arrested in Bandipora district. “They were linked to the LeT and the Hizbul Mujahideen. They were helping other terrorists. Arms and ammunition were recovered,” the police said.
A multi-tier security was thrown around the Valley for the Republic Day.
All major venues have been sealed off. All coaching centres in Srinagar were asked to close for four days. In Srinagar, traffic thinned out because of the checking of vehicles and pedestrians.