Jammu & Kashmir

Traders allege police breaking into their shops, forcing them to not observe shutdown

FPK Photo/Mukhtar Zahoor

Srinagar: On August 5, the second anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370 by the Government of India, traders in Srinagar have alleged that they have been asked by the Jammu and Kashmir Police to not observe a shutdown today.

Several traders and shopkeepers in Srinagar, including those in and around the city centre, Lal Chowk, said they have been asked not to shut shops today, Hindustan Times reported.

“Police on Tuesday told our market’s president that shops should remain open on Thursday. If someone fails to do so, he will be himself responsible for the consequences,” the report quoted one of the traders from market opposite Kashmir Haat as saying.

The trader, according to the report, said that police officials visited the market on August 4 and reiterated that shops should be kept open on Thursday.

Eyewitnesses told Free Press Kashmir that a couple of men are seen breaking the locks of the shops in Lal Chowk and forcing the traders to keep the market open today.

One such video has also gone viral on social media sites. The video shows a group of men using iron rods and blades to break the locks of the shops in Lal Chowk.

“August 5 is a day when our special status was snatched away from us. Our conscience won’t allow us to open shops,” he said.

Shopkeepers from Goni Khan and Maharaj Bazaar also reiterated the claims.

The report quoting Kashmir Chamber of Industries and Commerce president Sheikh Ashiq said that traders have been getting calls from police.

“I also came to know that there is some exercise going on though I didn’t get any call from the police personally. Traders called me saying that they have been called by the police. We are business people and we should not have been brought into this,” the president was quoted as saying.

On August 5, 2019, the Government of India stripped JK of its semi-autonomous status, revoked its statehood, and split the erstwhile state into two Union Territories.


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