Traders call for Kashmir bandh today

Various trade organisations called for a complete shutdown on Tuesday against “continued attacks” on special status of Jammu and Kashmir, ban on socio-religious organisationJamaat-e-Islami and “arrest spree” across the Valley.

Addressing a press conference, chairman of the Kashmir economic alliance (KEA), Muhammad Yasin Khan said that New Delhi is pushing the people of Kashmir to the wall.

“From the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami to continued and collective attempts being made by the Raj Bhawan and New Delhi to erode the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by tinkering with Articles 370 and 35A, every sinister effort is being made to further the unrest in Kashmir,” he said.
Khan also heads the Kashmir traders and manufacturers federation (KTMF).

The federation chamber of industries Kashmir (FCIK) president Muhammad Ashraf Mir and representative of all-transport welfare association (ATWA) Muhammad Yousuf were also present in the press conference.

The chamber of commerce and industries Kashmir (CCIK), Jammu and Kashmir socio-economic coordination committee (JKSECC), Karwan-e-Islami and grand mufti Nasir-ul-Islam extended their support to the shutdown call.

Khan said the ban on Jamaat has affected humanitarian services and philanthropic work conducted by its cadres in Kashmir.

“Educational and other services offered by Jamaat are first victims of the ban; the next target of such forces (who banned the organisation) could be masjids (mosques),” he said.

He said many senior politicians, including former ministers, and top officials have been the alumni of Jamaat-run schools.

“We urge the government to revoke this ban forthwith,” Khan said.

He also said that “systematic attempts” were being made to revoke Articles 35-A and 370 which give “special status” to J&K.

“If these Articles are even tinkered with, not only the bond of Kashmir with New Delhi will break, but it will also lead to such a fiery situation where no efforts will then be able to douse the flames,” Khan said.

He said the policies of New Delhi since 2016 have only “worsened the situation in Kashmir”.

“While the tourism and business sectors were already badly affected, the government has disturbed the academic activities further by extending winter vacations of students. The government looks unmindful of the loss of academic session the Kashmiri students,” Khan said.

He alleged that there seems to be a conspiracy behind frequent blockade of the Srinagar-Jammu highway, which has left over seven million people in Kashmir “starving for essentials”. “People of Kashmir are starving as highway remains frequently blocked and no stocks of essentials are in place. Amid such a crisis, the government is busy with things that can only aggravate the sufferings of the common people.”

Khan condemned the “uncalled for” crackdown on the people and “arrest spree” across Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Shahr-e-Khaas traders’ coordination committee (SKTCC) extended its support to the Tuesday’s shutdown call. Its chairman Nazir Ahmad Shah and president Bashir Kenu said downtown traders were against “onslaught” on special status and ban on Jamaat-e-Islami.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir socio-economic coordination committee (JKSECC) also called for a complete shutdown on Tuesday across Kashmir.

The JKSECC is an amalgam of various trade, industry, travel, tour, tourism, horticulture, education, contractors, pharmaceutical, houseboat, bakers and transport organisations and civil society formations.