SRINAGAR: The frequent shutdowns called by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik have driven the business community of Kashmir to the end of its tether. Otherwise a vocal and active supporter of the JRL’s protest programmes, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Thursday publicly asked the JRL to revisit their strategy if they want KCCI’s support in their anti-government programmes.
“We appeal to Hurriyat to think of an alternative to strikes. We will follow their protest calls regularly as all of us are ready to give sacrifices for the Kashmir cause,” Vice President of KCCI, Dr AM Mir, told reporters here.
The KCCI, an amalgam of top business houses in Kashmir, had called a presser on Thursday over the police detention of their members who were protesting against “violation of human rights in Kashmir”.
“We don’t have a favourable atmosphere to conduct business activities normally, due to human rights violations, killings of innocents, and pellet injuries. The situation is so bad that even 18-month-olds are not spared here,” Mir said.
The JRL has a strategy of calling for shutdowns during which markets remain shut, offices closed, and transport off the roads. During the 2016 six-month-long mass unrest, the shutdowns had cost Kashmir economy than Rs 20,000 crore.
The KCCI is the latest body to have questioned the shutdowns. The chamber said it will count losses in each sector for the current year, for which a committee has been formed.
Regarding the arrest of business leaders, Mir said that traders will take out a protest march from KCCI office to Press Enclave on Saturday to “express their concerns.”
“We need a congenial atmosphere here for business, which solely depends on the authorities,” he said. “This can happen when India and Pakistan come to the table and solve the Kashmir issue permanently.”