Kashmir Indepth

South Kashmir’s Shopian in a ‘tight grip of fear’


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Shopian, Sep 09 : Fear has gripped South Kashmir’s restive Shopian district after observing peaceful shutdown for more than a month in the wake of revocation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir state on August 5. According to locals, the level of fear that has gripped southern district of Shopian this time, is more worse than ever in the past over three decades.

According to wire service since last week, the situation has turned “bad to worse” here, as the commercial establishments didn’t open even during the relaxation hours- particularly during morning and evening time.

“The fear has gripped the entire business community that even the medical store runners preferred to stay away from their shops,” said a local resident, wishing not to be named.

The business community is clearing their stocks behind closed doors, however, not taking new orders from the people or small shopkeepers. Also new supply orders are not forwarded to dealers. “In next few weeks, there will be dearth of everything in Shopian market as we have not taking purchasing stock till the situation improves,” a distributor told wire service—, adding, nothing is precious than your life.

He was referring after some posters have appeared in the main market warning a number of business men for selling their merchandise in the prevailing situation.

Banks, ATM services remained shut in the entire district, while all the Petrol Pumps- except one- wore deserted look from last few days in the district. Witnesses told wire service—that Petrol Pumps also fear for selling fuel to the people, after reports of thrashing of several pump operators in last some days.

The situation is no different in small towns and villages where hardly any shop remains open after 9 in the morning and evening prayers. Known as ‘Apple bowl of Kashmir’, growers here have not plucked a single variety of apples in the area, as the biggest fruit Mandi remained shut this season so far.

People have been told that no fruit would be exported to other fruit Mandi’s of India this year, stopping growers from plucking the ripe cash crop so far. “Last year the Shopian Mandi would do a business of around Rs 650 Crore on daily basis, but not a single rupee business was done this season,” an Apple commission agent told wire service.

On Monday, several roadside vendors were thrashed by the public for selling good and fruits in the market. They were warned for putting their stalls for tomorrow. With the increase in number of stone pelting incidents in the area from last week, the movement of private vehicles has reduced, however, cars ferrying patients have been seen plying on the roads.

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