Slamabad Cross-Loc Trade Union on Monday reached city centre Lal Chowk to protest against the suspension of cross-LoC trade by the Home Ministry of India.
Scores of the traders along with union’s General Secretary Mohammad Shafi and chairman of cross-LoC Trade Association Hilal Ahmed assembled at Partap Park in Srinagar and sought the revocation of the decision.
The protesting traders said that the cross border trade started by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2008, has led the thousands of families across border to come on the roads. “The trade is associated with lakhs of people across the border and if the decision is not being revoked it will devastate all of them,” General Secretary Slamabad Cross-Loc Trade Union Mohammad Shafi said “The sudden decision has saddened the traders across the border,” he added.
Hilal Ahmed, Chairman Cross Loc Traders Association briefed the media reporters that trade started in 2008, is associated with lakhs of people across the border and it was the traders demand from day first to provide the full-proof mechanism to the traders operating from both the sides. “On April 19, we were informed about the suspension of the trade, whatever items we had taken from this side are stuck at different places,” he said.
He said the authorities concerned with it should have at least informed the traders before the order, as the decision has literally devasted the families associated with it from both the sides.
Meanwhile, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) extend their support to the traders and sought the early redressal of the grave issue.
“KCCI is in support of the traders and if there is any misuse of the system its government’s responsibility to look over it, why wasn’t it suspended from last eleven years,” senior vice president KCCI Nasir Hameed Khan said.
Earlier, Home Ministry of India ordered the suspension of cross-LoC trade via Salamabad (Uri) and Chakan-da-Bagh (Poonch) routes.
“The Govt of India has received reports that cross LoC trade routes being misused by Pakistan based elements. The misuse involves illegal inflows of weapons, narcotics & fake currency etc,” said the MHA, in an order.
The order said the cross-LoC trade mechanism is therefore suspended till a stricter regulatory regime is put in place.
“This is to ensure that only bonafide trade takes place, for the benefit of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, through this mechanism,” reads the order issued by MHA.