Locks Broken To Keep Stores Open In Srinagar, Allege Shopkeepers

Local trade groups have said the police asked them not to close their shops today. But till forenoon, shops remained closed in several areas of Srinagar

Locks Broken To Keep Stores Open In Srinagar, Allege Shopkeepers

Some men are seen trying to break the lock of a shop in Srinagar

Srinagar:

There was no shutdown on the second anniversary of the scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Two years ago on this today, the centre scrapped special status and converted Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories, the other being Ladakh.

The police ensured no shops remain closed today. Some men accompanied by the police were seen breaking locks of shops and shutters with iron roads at Srinagar's Lal Chowk. Videos of the act have been shared widely on social media.

The police said they were present there for protection of shopkeepers.

For the last two weeks, the police and the administration have been working hard to ensure no shutdown is observed today.

Local trade groups have said the police asked them not to close their shops today. But till forenoon, shops remained closed in several areas of Srinagar. Eventually, some shopkeepers were called on phone and asked to open their shops. Those who couldn't reach on time found that the locks at their shops have been broken, a shopkeeper said.

By afternoon, almost the whole of Lal Chowk, the business district of Srinagar, was open.

Although no group had called for a shutdown, the administration ensured the day went without any trouble. No shutdown today against the scrapping of special status is being shown as an indication of normalcy and people's acceptance of the centre's decision in parliament two years ago.

BJP workers celebrated the day as historic and the government released booklets listing its achievements in the last two years.

Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who tried to take out a protest March, criticised what she called "police high-handedness" to open the shops by force. "They are doing everything by force. They are forcing shopkeepers to open. For how long they will hide their actions after destroying J&K?" Ms Mufti said.

After special status to Jammu and Kashmir was scrapped on August 5, 2019, there was a prolonged communication blackout and thousands of people were detained.

High speed internet was restored in Jammu and Kashmir only this February - 555 days later, in what was seen as the world's longest internet shutdown.