Traders hit streets against mob attacks on Kashmiris across India

Kashmir based trade bodies and members of civil society on Friday held a joint protest at city centre Lal Chowk against mob attacks on Kashmiris in various states.

The organisations which had called shutdown and protests included both factions of Kashmir economic alliance, all factions of Kashmir traders and manufacturers federation, Kashmir chamber of commerce and industry, Bapar Mandal Mahraj Gunj, Shehar-e-Khaas traders coordination committee and valley based transporters along with several other trade associations. Members of civil society representing Kashmir Centre for Social and Developmental Studies also took part in the protest which was held near historic clock tower in Lal Chowk.

In reaction to the shutdown call, shops and business establishments from Lal Chowk to Polo View and adjacent markets observed a shutdown after 3:30 pm onwards. Shutdown was also observed in Downtown areas of the city.

Addressing mediapersons, Muhammad Yaseen Khan, president, KTMF said “attacks on Kashmiris including students, traders and employees was unacceptable to business fraternity.” Khan gave government an ultimatum of two days to stop these attacks in various states.
“We will wait for two days and will be meeting again on Monday to decide future course of action. If government fails to prevent these attacks on innocents, we will be forced to intensify protests,” said Khan who also heads Kashmir economic alliance. Khan said on Monday the traders will also decide whether to boycott trade with Jammu or not.
“Today a union minister has come out with a statement that Kashmiris are safe in India. But is this not too little too late. Why have they woken up now after a week of attacks,” Khan said. “We are against any sort of bloodshed and never resorted of bullying non-locals in the Valley,” Khan said.

Nasir Hameed Khan, senior vice-president, KCCI said thinkers, intellectuals and the civil society must promote communal harmony and oppose goon attacks. “Business community urges the law enforcement agencies to take effective criminal action against those creating disharmony amongst various sections of the society and not be discriminatory and biased in application of law,” he said.
“The establishment needs to send out a clear message condemning these incidents and ensure the protection of the lives and properties of our people,” he added.
Drivers of vehicles including trucks damaged in mob attacks at Jammu which arrived in Srinagar also joined the protests while demanding due compensation from the government.

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