People caught between devil and deep sea

People caught between devil and deep sea

People caught between devil and deep sea

With strikes called by separatists and curfew imposed by the government becoming a norm in Kashmir, the common man is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

The separatists have been issuing weekly protest calendars following the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani on July 8.

According to this, the strike is relaxed only after 6 pm, during which people can buy groceries.However, after August 15, authorities have been countering the relaxation call of separatists by not allowing shops to open and blocking the roads across Srinagar.

“We have no other way as both separatists and the government want to starve us. Both are punishing poor people to satisfy their ego,” said Omar Bhat, a local who had ventured out to buy baby food. Bhat said security forces weren’t even entertaining curfew passes issued by the district magistrate.

A shopkeeper in Hazartbal told this correspondent that the police patrols the area after 6 pm to ensure that nobody opens their shop. “The SDPO and the SHO told us in clear terms that if we have to open our shops, we should do it at 10am. We told him that if the police will provide us protection, we are ready,” he said.

“However, instead of providing security, they warned us of dire consequences if we open shops in the evening. Neither the separatists nor government is ready to budge an inch. It is the common man who has to bear the brunt of it all,” he said.

Muhammad Yasin Khan, chairman of Kashmir Economic Alliance, an amalgam of various trade bodies, said they were at the receiving end of the forces during relaxation in shutdown.

“The police and some leaders from the ruling PDP want shops be kept open during the day. By the time the relaxation period as announced by the Hurriyat approaches, the police and paramilitary forces unleash a reign of terror, threatening shopkeepers to stay closed. Even the sale of medicines and groceries, including baby food, is not allowed,” he said.

‘Violence has only brought misery’

Stating that violence has not changed anything in Kashmir but only brought misery and bloodshed, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday advocated dialogue to address the political issues, DHNS repoorts from Srinagar.

“Violence has changed nothing on the political spectrum of Jammu and Kashmir, but brought mayhem, misery, economic disaster, academic breakdown and social disorder to the state,” the chief minister said, handing over appointment orders to the next of kin of employees who died in harness.

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