Srinagar: In Kashmir shopkeepers have adopted a unique method to protest the abrogation of Article 370. Markets open for a few hours in the morning and then shut down during the day only to reopen briefly in the evenings.
When open, the shops are buzzing with activity and the backstreet stores are choc-a-bloc with customers.
Protest against revocation of Article 370
“This is a democratic way to register our protest against the revocation of Article 370,” said Nisar Ahmad who runs a grocery in Batmaloo area.
In the past cycles of unrest in Kashmir like 2008, 2010 and 2016 which went on for months together were guided by separatist calls of shutdown and protest calendar. But this time around there is no call for a shutdown.
“It is a spontaneous reaction against the revocation of Article 370”, said Bashir Ahmad who runs a provision store on the bye pass.
But while shops remain closed the street vendors have started running their business in some places. In places like Batmaloo bus stand and Dalgate in Srinagar vendors are out selling fruits and vegetables.
The government says there are no restrictions in place and action will be initiated against those who force people to shut their shops.
“There are practically no restrictions which means there is no constraint on any kind of opening of shops, so people are free to open their shops, but we are also conscious of the fact that there seems to be an attempt by militants or anti-nationals or mischievous elements to force people not to open their shops, I think a strong note has been taken about it, whenever there is an attempt to force people to act in a particular direction, action will be taken,” government spokesperson Rohit Kansal said.