A day after the shutdown called by them threw normal life out of gear, flood-affected traders in the Valley are bracing for the next round of protests.
They said the government could not afford to continue ignoring victims of last year’s devastating floods and they would soon come up with a decisive protest calendar.
“The government has seen our power even though we are non-political. It cannot afford to take us for granted,” said Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) chairman Showkat Chowdhary.
“People from different walks of life gave their verdict by supporting our shutdown call. We will soon announce our next programme, that will be harsher and decisive,” he said.
The KEA shutdown call against the government’s failure to suitably rehabilitate victims of floods had received the backing of the National Conference and separatists.
Chowdhary regretted that the Centre and the state government had failed to live up to the promises made to them.“Whenever a BJP leader, be it Narendra Modi or Arun Jaitley, came here, they promised to announce a comprehensive package for flood victims. But they only fooled people,” he said.
“If the Centre can announce Rs 1.25 lakh crore for Bihar, why has it delayed the package for us even after passage of one year?” he asked.
Questioning the PDP, he said, “Before forming the government, the PDP said it allied with the BJP so that the state got liberal funding from the Centre. Where are the funds?
”Mohammad Yasin Khan, heading the other faction of the KEA, said the next round of protests would ‘shake the government’.
He was detained along with Chowdhary yesterday to prevent traders from rallying at Lal Chowk. He said Kashmir was facing discrimination from the Centre, which was not bothered about people.
“We are facing discrimination and the Centre is the least bothered about Kashmir. It cannot imagine the extent of damage people, especially the trader community, have suffered,” he said.
While the traders would come up with a detailed protest calendar soon, they were mulling protests in New Delhi as well.
Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Sheikh Ashiq said they were planning protest rallies at all district headquarters.
He said they were planning interaction with national and international media groups both in Srinagar and New Delhi to highlight the ‘gravity of the situation pushing the people of Kashmir towards a severe economic crisis’.