Srinagar: The nearly three month long shutdown in Kashmir is clearly showing signs of fatigue especially in the last one week with most city areas witnessing increased movement of pedestrians and motorists, along with hawkers who are seen selling things on roadsides and key junctions.
It is the shutting of schools, shops and public transport that the current protest program is slowly getting restricted to, a development that is seen as a substantial descending shift in the overall momentum of the public uprising that was triggered after the killing of a popular Hizb Commander, Burhan Wani in early July this year.
On Tuesday, the 88th straight day of shutdown, most city areas saw increased vehicular movement. A sizeable number of auto-rickshaws too were seen plying on city roads. Amid this, two auto-rickshaws were set ablaze by unidentified persons in Saida Kadal and Baba Demb localities of Srinagar, apparently for defying the protest calendar.
As there is no curfew or curfew like restrictions in most parts of the Valley from the last few weeks, most of the key areas in Srinagar, especially in Civil Lines have increased public movement and vendors too are seen setting up their stalls. The ‘Sunday market’ in Srinagar also remained open on last Sunday even though the separatist leadership had called for a complete shutdown with no relaxation hours.
The Kashmir Monitor Tuesday scanned several areas and found vendors having set up their stalls at Hari Singh High Street, Jehangir Chowk market, Polo View market, Dalgate, Batamaloo and other adjoining areas with sizeable number of people on streets.
It has also been observed that shopkeepers at various other places open up their shops early morning until 10 am and reopen them after 6 in the evening even when there is no relaxation call in the protest calendar. From last Sunday to this Tuesday, even though there was no relaxation in the protest calendar by the Hurriyat, the vendors and shoppers at several places still opened their shops post 6 pm.
With signs of uneasy calm in Civil line areas, the old city pockets continue to remain shut on the separatists’ protest calendar.
The joint separatist leadership trio including Syed Ali Geelani (who is under house arrest), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (who is lodged at Cheshmashahi sub-jail) and Yasin Malik (who is lodged at JIC Humhama) is spearheading the current protest calendar. The public agitation which started in mid-summer has extended well into autumn however as the leaves are about to fall, the momentum too seems to be dangling with each passing day.