In the middle of peak tourist season government has once again resorted to its siege tactics to push locals to the margins. It looks strange on part of Omar’s government that on one side they are trying to keep people in good humour and on the other side caging them. As state government is well aware that this is the important time of the year for locals as most of the economic activities take place in this time only, still they went ahead with their plans to shut them out inside their houses putting the normal life out of gear. Thought the restrictions were confined to five police stations only but the impact was visible across the main business hub of Srinagar. Most of the business owners belong to the areas falling under these five police stations. It was painful to see Srinagar’s business hub Lal Chowk wear near deserted look on a fine summer afternoon.
Tourists were seen asking passerby’s about the reason why the market is closed. Most of them preferred to stay inside their hotel rooms as concertina wires and large contingents of forces added to the gloom. There is always a method to the madness. If government had apprehensions that things might take ugly turn they should have made suitable arrangements rather than resorting to siege. Since morning Srinagar was full of tourists who had planned last minute shopping before heading back to airport or their respective destinations. But all the plans were dashed.
It is not only the tourists who faced difficulties in wake of restriction around Srinagar, but a large section of local population had to make alternative plans at the last minute.
With Ramadan just round the corner most of the marriages take place during this time only. With restrictions in place the movement of guests was hampered badly ruining the festive atmosphere in many households who had made arrangements beforehand.
If government is serious to feel the pain of people they claim to represent then such harsh steps should be avoided. It is no argument that the people are caged inside their homes in such scorching heat for their own safety. Time is ripe to find alternative means to deal with issues related to the ‘safety’ of the citizens. One cannot always take the easy way out and claim to be sensitive towards people at the same time.
In other parts of the world putting entire population under siege would be considered as gross human rights violation. But Kashmir is different as the patience of its people is time and again. The question is how long the caged population will remain silent to the suppression!