Traders in Srinagar’s Downtown Saturday observed a complete shutdown the alleged ransacking of their shops by government forces on Friday. Shops and other commercial establishments were shut. However, shops in other areas of the city were partially open and public transport was seen plying normally on roads. Banks, schools, government offices also functioned normally. Downtown Traders Coordination Committee had called for the shutdown which was supported by Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation. The Jamia Market Traders Federation President Javaid Ahmed Zargar said police and paramilitary CRPF today crossed all limits of use of brute force in the historic Jamia Masjid and neighboring localities after the congregational Friday prayers. “From Nowhatta to Saraf Kadal they unleashed reign terror everywhere, including lanes and bylanes where one and all were beaten to pulp,” Zargar said. A police official posted in the area however, refuted the allegations of shopkeepers. “Stone pelters usually pelt stones on both police and shopkeepers. Miscreants and not peace loving shopkeepers are our target,” he claimed. Meanwhile, Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Muhammad Yasin Malik also joined the sit in protest with traders and expresses solidarity with them. Malik said that firing tear gas shells inside Jamia Masjid, punishing the traders and shopkeepers of Jamia and Nowhatta, vandalizing and ransacking their business establishments and shops and terrorizing youth is highly condemnable. Pertinently, as soon as the Friday congregation was over in the Jamia Masjid here, forces allegedly ransacked the shops by firing tear smoke shells and pepper gases to them.
2015 Kashmir Despatch