New Delhi: The J&K administration has banned large gatherings in Ladakh’s Kargil, Drass and Sankoo towns following the government’s move to end the special status of the state and bifurcate it into two Union territories.

The district magistrate of Kargil, after imposing restrictions under Section 144, said in a release that any assembly of four or more people would attract punitive action. The restrictions came into effect at 5 AM on Thursday and would remain until further notice, the release said.

The government has also advised the education institutions of the areas to remain closed.

Meanwhile, in some parts of J&K, curfew has been relaxed. Parts of Ramban district got six hours of relaxation after three days of continuous curfew. This did not include the subdivisions of Banihal and Ramsu.

Ramban District Magistrate ZA Khan said the curfew restrictions have been relaxed from 10 AM to 4 pm from all towns and markets in Ramban district except in Banihal and Ramsu subdivisions and if peace prevails, the relaxation will be relaxed further.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court refused an urgent hearing on the petition seeking withdrawal of curfew, blocking of phone lines, internet, news channels & other restrictions from J&K.

The petition, filed by Tehseen Poonawalla, also sought immediate release of political leaders from ‘illegal custody’.