Srinagar: Life has come to a grinding halt for Mohammad Yousf’s family who live in the Shopian district in south Kashmir. Shopian which is known to be a hotbed for militancy has witnessed many top militants along with their commanders being killed in crossfire with security forces.
Mohammad Yousuf, 65, who owns an apple orchard said, “People are suffering. The food materials we had stocked have depleted and we are worried about our future.” Yousuf’s 17-year-old son Rauf Ahmad says, “Compared to the 2016 unrest after the killing of Burhan Wani, Shopian has remained peaceful and one of the reasons is the restrictions imposed by the government which forced people to stay indoors.”
Rauf, a student is unhappy and adds, “I miss going to college. I have not attended college due the lockdown after Article 370 was scrapped. All educational institutions are closed and that is a big loss.” His 12-year-old sister Neelam a student says, “The situation is very bad. We step out of our homes due to the lockdown.”
Before Article 370 was scrapped, the family had stocked up food and other essentials commodities. But the stocks are drying up. Neelam’s mother, a school teacher says, “Our LPG cylinders on the verge of getting empty. We want these restrictions to be lifted.”
There is tight security in Shopian and the streets are deserted. Mohammed Tuman who runs a grocery says business has taken a major hit. “Shops are closed and the bank ATMs don’t work. The government must lift the communication blockade as soon as possible.”
Government spokesperson Rohit Kansal said, “The government is looking into the issue of no cash in the ATMs and directions have been passed to ensure that ATMs without cash are filled so that people do not have to suffer. The government is cognizant to the problems faced by the people, but such measures are needed in order to avoid violent fallout.”