After 79 days of curfew, restrictions and shutdown, the markets opened across the Valley on Sunday afternoon in response to the relaxation in shutdown announced by the separatist leaders.
At 2 pm, the shopkeepers and business establishments in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley opened their shops and establishments.
The Sunday market, which has remained closed since July 8, also opened today.
It was for the first time in last 79 days that markets in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley opened in the day in response to the relaxation in shutdown announced by the separatists.
Earlier, the shops and business establishments used to open during the evening in the evening hours relaxation in shutdown given by the separatists, who are spearheading the ongoing agitation and extended the strike upto September 29.
At least 88 people have been killed and over 11,000 injured in the ongoing unrest in the Valley triggered by killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
During the relaxation period in shutdown today, markets remained abuzz with activities. People thronged the markets to purchase essentials and other items.
The traffic police had a tough time in regulating the jams in Srinagar and other places. There was a total gridlock in the city and it took hours for people to reach city centre Lal Chowk.
“We were preparing to reopen the shops from the morning. Due to curfew, restrictions and shutdown we couldn’t even open the shops on eve of Eid. The relaxation call gave a brief relief to shopkeepers and vendors,” said Wahid, a vendor from Batamaloo.
A shopkeeper in Lal Chowk Javed Ahmad said, “There was great rush of people in the markets. It was a great relief after the markets opened today.”
Rouf Ahmad Shiekh, who works as a salesman in a shop in Lal Chow, said, he feels that a siege has been lifted.
“During these days, we have been under siege and this relaxation has given us a temporary breather,” he said.
The traders said people thronged the markets to purchase essential commodities only.
“There was a good rush of shoppers but people were making only essential purchases. People are also judiciously spending money as they don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Situation is totally uncertain,” President Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) Mohammad Yasin Khan told Kashmir Post.
He said many people also come out to make purchases for marriages.
Khan, who is also the chairman of Kashmir Economic Alliance, said the shopkeeper are selling only old stocks and are not in a position to buy new stock for winter months.
“This time shopkeepers would usually keep stock for autumn and winter months. But we have not made any new purchases as situation on the ground has not improved,” said Khan.
The flea market was also thronged by good number of people.
A police spokesman said curfew was lifted from entire Valley today.
“There was no curfew in any part of the valley today,” he said.
Meanwhile, people in downtown Srinagar took out a protest rally and clashed with police and paramilitary personnel. The cops fired tear smoke shells to disperse the protestors, who pelted stones on them.
The forces foiled an Ittehad-i-Milat conference at Qazipora village of Bandipora district by imposing strict restrictions.
Locals said heavy contingent of CRPF and police was deployed near Eidgah Qazipora, where proposed conference was to be held.
“ The forces caged us to foil pro-freedom unity rally proposed to be held in Eidgah,” said a resident of Qazipora, Bandipora.
Police and CRPF men had also erected barricades near Kaloosa and Bonwatpora to restrict the movement of people. Many religious and pro-freedom leaders were supposed to address the proposed rally in Qazipora.
The clashes between youth and cops were reported from Anantnag and Sopore.
A police spokesman said the situation across the valley remained normal.
He said miscreants attempted to create disturbances in Anantnag and Sopore. “At main Chowk Sopore and KP road Anantnag miscreants in their attempt to create disturbances pelted stones on shopkeepers when they were today opening their shops. Police and security deployments immediately reached the spots and chased away miscreants and normalized the situation”.
The spokesman said during past 24 hours, police arrested 39 more miscreants, who were wanted in the offences of harassing shops keepers, creating disruptions in traffic movement by stone pelting and by placing obstructions on roads and lanes, and also found involved in damaging public/private property.