Questioning the sudden decision by government of India to demonetize higher denomination notes, National Conference President Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said he would wait to see the result of the move which has led to "anger and chaos across the states."
"They (government of India) did not ask anybody before going ahead with the decision. Let's see what will happen and how much black money will they recover now," Abdullah told reporters here.
Wearing the traditional Pheran (cloak), the former Chief Minister made a sudden appearance in Lal Chowk, the business hub of the summer capital Srinagar this evening during the "relaxation time" announced by the separatists and entered a shop. Like elsewhere banks across Kashmir witnessed long queues on Saturday to exchange old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. As per the government order, a person can exchange up to Rupees 2,000 a day for now, and later Rs 4,000 a day, at any bank branch or post office. They can deposit money into their account without any limit.
Ever since the decision, people have been saying that they have been left cashless. Abdullah too asserted that he has been hit by the demonetization move.
"I wasn't having any cash and I told them (the shop owner) that I will make the payments later," Abdullah said in response to a question by a reporter. The former union minister said he had decided to visit the market during relaxation time in the evening time since the shops remain closed during day, as per the weekly "protest calendar" issued by separatists. "I made purchases on credit," Abdullah said.
He also inquired from one of the shop owners in Lal Chowk about the losses suffered by the business community including traders and shopkeepers during the ongoing uprising in Kashmir. Since the killing of rebel commander Burhan Wani on July 8 this year Kashmir has remained shut for the past 127 days. However, the markets open during the relaxation hours which are announced by the separatist in the protest calendars.