Miscreants, militants resorting to fear-mongering in Kashmir: Police

SRINAGAR: Miscreants and militants are indulging in fear-mongering in Kashmir to put down any resistance to the unannounced shutdown, which has now entered its fourth month, police said on Wednesday.
“There have been consistent efforts to enforce shutdown in areas where shops are open or roadside vendors are plying their trade. The anti-peace elements are trying to keep people indoors,” a senior police official said.
The official said two grenade attacks in the city’s busy Goni Khan market and Kaka Sarai areas were an indication that there were concerted efforts to keep the shutdown going.
One street vendor was killed while 35 others were injured in the grenade attack at Goni Khan market on Monday as the shops in the area were open beyond the 12.00 pm self-imposed deadline for closing the markets. Six security force personnel were injured in the attack at Kaka Sarai last week.
Several shops, falling in the areas which have defied the shutdown, have been damaged in the mysterious fire incidents.
While police have been maintaining that these fires were caused by ‘electric short circuit’, some of the owners suspect foul play by the miscreants.
“We have already lost our capital…I do not want any physical harm now,” the owner of a shop, which got damaged in a fire incident at Batamaloo recently, said on condition of anonymity.
Education, public transport and tourism were the only three sectors that continue to remain badly affected as people associated with the rest of the trades have resumed normal activities.
The government’s efforts to open schools have not been successful as parents are not willing to risk the safety of their children. However, board examinations are going on as per schedule.
“We are already suffering heavy losses due to the shutdown but the losses can be bigger if we take out our vehicles on the roads. One stone thrown at a passenger vehicle can lead to a damage worth thousands of rupees,” Aijaz Ahmad Bhat, a bus driver, said.
Bhat said he was working as a labourer to make his ends meet but that would not pay for his liabilities.
“I have to pay the loan installments of the vehicle and I do not earn enough these days. I might have to sell the bus to get rid of this liability,” he added.
Although some tourists have returned to the Kashmir Valley after the government lifted the adverse advisory last month, there have been stray incidents of stone-pelting on their vehicles in the past few days.
The partial communication blockade in the Valley has now entered 94th day.
While landline and postpaid mobile phone services have been restored across the Valley, all internet services continue to remain suspended since August 5.
The worst hit have been the courier services which were mainly into delivering the products purchased by the consumers online.
“The business has come to a halt due to non-availability of internet services. People are not able to make online purchases, so there is nothing to deliver,” M A Mir, who runs a courier service here, said.
Most of the top-level and second rung separatist politicians have been taken into preventive custody while mainstream leaders, including two former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been either detained or placed under house arrest.
The government has detained former chief minister and sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah under the controversial Public Safety Act, a law enacted by his father and National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1978 when he was the chief minister.

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