Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases, the Indian government has ordered “complete restriction” on non-essential movement on weekends in Jammu and Kashmir. According to an order by State Executive Committee (SEC), headed by Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, a night curfew from 9pm to 6am shall continue to remain in force in all districts, along with the restriction on non-essential movement. The SEC also reiterated that the maximum number of people permitted to attend any indoor or outdoor gathering shall be strictly restricted to 25. “Banquet Halls in all the districts of J&K are permitted to allow gathering up to 25 vaccinated persons (with verifiable RT-PCR or RAT not older than 72 hours) or 25% of the authorised capacity (whichever is less), preferably in open spaces.” It ordered that cinemas, theatres, multiplexes, restaurants, clubs, gymnasiums and swimming pools are only permitted to function at 25% of capacity. As regards the education institutions, all colleges, schools, polytechnics, ITIs, and coaching centres for civil services/engineering/NEET, etc, have been asked to adopt an online medium of teaching. Activists have previously complained that Covid is sometimes used as an excuse to prevent protests against the Indian government's direct control of Kashmir. Some Kashmiris -- and the Pakistan government, which claims the territory -- oppose Indian government control.
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