Kashmir’s business community at the receiving end

Abdul Majid, a shopkeeper at Srinagar’s city centre was all geared up on Monday evening as the Resistance camp had asked business establishment to keep open shops/establishments from 6 Pm in the evening, as he went to lift shutters of his shop, there was a loud shouts from forces asking everybody to shut their establishments.
Kashmir’s business community at the receiving end
Photo: Mubashir Khan/GK

Abdul Majid, a shopkeeper at Srinagar's city centre was all geared up on Monday evening as the Resistance camp had asked business establishment to keep open shops/establishments from 6 Pm in the evening, as he went to lift shutters of his shop, there was a loud shouts from forces asking everybody to shut their establishments. 

Frustrated, Majid tried to argue with the security forces personnel but to no avail. "We are caught between devil and deep sea," he said while talking with other fellow businessmen who had come with a hope they could operate for few hours in order to earn something for sustenance. 

A group of shopkeepers/businessmen while talking to Greater Kashmir said that they are facing peculiar circumstance. " We are wholly supporting protest calendars issued by the resistance leaders," they said while stating at the same breathe that some " rogue" elements are sabotaging the schedule by targeting shops and business establishment during " deal hours" given by the resistance camp. 

Explaining, they said that on one hand forces sabotage the protest calendars by forcing the businessmen to stop their operations during the time they are supposed to do business as per the protest calendar. 

"While on the other hand, some masked youth threaten us for opening shops," said Bashir Ahmad who runs a grocery store in Koker Bazar. 

He said that the resistance camp should take note of the problems being faced by the business community as " some vested elements" pelt stones on shops at various places which remains open in the evening or in the morning hours.

While vendors also decry this "two edged sword". "We eat what we earn in a day, even though we are not insensitive to the killings and happenings but at least we should be allowed to do our work during relaxation hours as announced by the resistance camp," said Muhammad Akbar, a vendor adding that unlike government employees they don't get monthly salaries. 

"Our plight should be kept in mind," he said adding that "while government employees have been given their salaries, small time traders are suffering a lot." 

Kashmir is on boil for last 25 days after killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani which led to death of more than 50 protestors in the Valley.

Since July 9, there has been no breather in restrictions and shutdowns, however at two instances the resistance camp gave relaxation in shutdown from 2 Pm but both times the shopkeepers were not allowed to open their establishments, once the forces enforced the shutdown asking the businessmen to close shops and on second occasion masked men pelted stones enforcing shutdown even after the separatists has asked people to shop and stock essentials after 2 Pm.   

Chairman, Kashmir Economic Alliance, Muhammad Yaseen Khan said that business community is following the protest calendar of resistance camp in letter and spirit.    

"But unfortunately the forces are forcing shopkeepers/traders to close down their shops in the evening;" he said adding that "vindictive tactics of the government won't break our resolve". 

President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kashmir, Zahoor Ahmad Tramboo said "We are made to believe that government is magnanimous, but here they are vindictive against the shopkeepers who are following the protest calendar."

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