Traders demanding resumption of cross-LoC trade hold protests

Scores of cross-LoC traders and others associated with the trade demanding the resumption of intra-Kashmir CBM on Monday held a protest demonstration at city centre Lal Chowk here.

The traders said that abrupt cancellation of trade has inflicted losses worth crores on them and the move will affect the livelihood of hundreds of people involved in the trade.

Traders assembled at Partap Park under the banner of ‘LOC Traders Union’ holding banners and placards that read “save LOC trade, save our future”, “We want justice” amid slogans in favour of the early resumption of the trade.

Traders said that they support the government’s every move to put strict and transparent regulatory measure but suspension of trade that took a decade to establish itself is no answer.

“Over the past decade, cross-LoC trade has been our only source of income. Suspension of trade will affect our families, our livelihood and will bring us on roads. We request government to implement strict regulatory measures and continue trade simultaneously,” said chairman Cross-LOC Traders Union, Hilal Ahmed Turkey.

“We have huge market liabilities and trade worth crores is stuck on either sides of LoC. If trade is not resumed, we will have to sell our houses to pay for losses,” he said.

Scores of labourers and drivers associated with LoC trade were also the part of protest who said that they have been left without livelihood by untimely suspension of LoC trade.

“We had given our land for the trade centre at Salamabad and in return we were given menial work at trade centre. There are hundreds of families like me who depend on this trade and its suspension will snatch bread and butter from us,” said Mohammad Younis, a labourer from Uri.

Senior leaders from Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) were also present to support the demands of LOC traders.

“Government should have put strict regulatory measure in place from past decade. Suspension of trade is no answer. This trade should have been enhanced as it is one of the major CBMs between India and Pakistan,” said Nasir Hameed kKan, senior vice president, KCCI.

Aggrieved traders appealed MHA and Governor Satya Pal Malik to reconsider the trade suspension order. 

Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday ordered suspension of cross-LoC trade between India and Pakistan via Jammu and Kashmir following reports of alleged misuse of the trade routes by “Pakistan-based elements for illegal inflow of weapons, narcotics and currency”.