Srinagar Buzzes With Life After A Week25 July 2010
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: Markets overflowed with shoppers, vendors put up their wares and roads saw heavy traffic as Srinagar and other major towns of the Kashmir Valley on Sunday sprang to life after a week of separatist shutdowns and official restrictions. The Jammu and Kashmir Bank and a few other private and cooperative banks here opened despite it being a Sunday to provide cash to customers who could not avail of any banking facilities last week. Markets were jam-packed and vendors looked forward to brisk business. Traffic moved at snail's pace in Srinagar as all major traffic arteries were blocked with motorists and autorickshaw drivers blowing their horns to make way. A resident said the buzz in the city resembled the bustle seen ahead of Eid. 'It is like the buying spree on Eid-eve... Everybody seems to have come out of their homes,' said Junaid Kawoosa, a bank official. Kawoosa said he had filled his car's tank with fuel as petrol pumps didn't function in the city because of the separatist shutdowns and protests. 'I have bought essential goods and medicines for my family. You never know how long or short the next spell of separatist shutdowns and official restrictions could be,' he said. The valley has been virtually paralysed due to violent protests against civilians being killed in firing by security forces. Fourteen people, including a 25-year old woman, have been killed in firing by security personnel across the Kashmir Valley since June 11. The army was called in to help maintain law and order as the violence spiralled. Hardline separatist Hurriyat group headed by Syed Ali Geelani had asked people to resume normal activities across Kashmir from Sunday. Syed Sallahuddin, the Muzaffarabad-based commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, in a telephonic interview to a local news agency, had appealed to the Hurriyat leaders to modify their resistance programme so that the people did not suffer due to the shutdowns and curfew. Ignoring the Hizbul chief commander's appeal, Masrat Alam, an underground leader of the hardline Hurriyat group, Saturday evening issued another weeklong resistance calendar, asking people to observe shutdowns and protests this week barring Tuesday and Saturday.