28 traders badly affected, UTF calls for shutdown today
ANANTNAG: Destruction of commercial property in a fire, allegedly triggered by teargas shelling by government forces against stone throwing youth on Friday evening, has united the divided house of traders in Anantnag.
President of the Traders Association Anantnag, Muhammad Showkat Misgar, termed the coming together of three trade bodies in the district as a major development. He said that the trade bodies had come together to fight ‘exploitation meted out to the traders’.
Earlier hundreds of traders took out a protest rally through the town market. Following a shutdown call by traders association Anantnag, all the business establishments, private schools and government offices in the town remained closed.
United under the banner of United Traders Federation Anantnag (UTFA), the business community called for a complete shutdown in the town on Sunday, alleging that the heritage market was set on fire under a conspiracy.
“May be there was some protest demonstration after Friday prayers in the area but that does not mean they will set on fire the entire market,” general secretary of the trade body, Riyaz Ahmad Bhat, told reporters at a press conference. “We have earlier seen the destruction of properties under such conspiracies in Sopore, Baramullah, Pattan and Srinagar. But now we feel same conspiracy was hatched to destroy a market place in the town”.
He said that Reshi Bazar represented the heritage of the district and the traders feel that the same was targeted under a well thought conspiracy.
“At least 28 traders were badly affected in the blaze and property worth crores of rupees was destroyed,” Bhat said. He demanded that the affected traders be compensated and the police officer, responsible for the incident, be immediately suspended.
“We want to convey to the authorities through the medium of press that if our demands were not met by Sunday evening, we will be forced to take harsher steps,” he said. “We are in touch with the trade bodies representing the traders of the valley. If authorities fail to accept our demands, we won’t hesitate to move beyond shutdown. May be there comes a Kashmir bandh call as well”.
The United Traders Federation also appealed the traders of the town to observe a complete shutdown on Sunday. “Future course of action will be announced on the basis of response of the authorities towards our demands,” he said.