As Kashmir Lockdown Continues, Flea Market Witnesses Brisk Business      

2 mins read

Mohd.Yaqoob Malik

As the shutdown in Kashmir continues since August 5, some shopkeepers of Srinagar have started to sell their goods on footpaths at the weekly flea market.

Street vendors have been installing their carts at the flea market near Polo view everyday which otherwise was a weekly phenomenon before centre abrogated Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5, and after that the spontaneous shutdown starts in valley.

Vendors said that the government allowed them to establish the flea market everyday owing to the shutdown.

“These days government has given relaxation to set flea market which usually is allowed only on Sundays,” said Muzaffar Ahmad Khan, a jacket seller. “Earlier we had been told to set our stalls or beds at Makka Market which is situated opposite Biscoe School Srinagar, “he added.

Restrictions were imposed in Jammu and Kashmir and communication blocked when centre abrogated the special status of the state. Although restrictions have been largely eased but a spontaneous shutdown by people against the decision has continued while mobile and internet services are still blocked.

The flea market, also called Sunday Market, is situated 1.5 kilometers from city centre Lal Chowk Srinagar and spreads to tourist reception center (TRC). This market is considered common peoples’ market where people from lower and middle classes prefer to buy goods for themselves and their children. The people who sell goods are usually also from poor families.

Ghulam Ahmad Dar, an electronic gadgets seller said: “Due to danger in villages with the result of revocation of J & K’s special status, I shifted to this place otherwise I used to sell these electronic gadgets in villages.”

“I came here in this market because I had no money left behind in my home to feed my children, otherwise I was on strike for consecutive 45 days,” Dar said.

All kinds of new and used goods like shoes, jackets, tops, pants, warmers, shirts, blankets, crockery items, electronic gadgets are sold in the market.  Street food is also available here.  Vendors say that nearly 1500 persons earn their living from this market.

Jan Mohammad Kawa, a shopkeeper, said that he was forced to move to the market to save his goods from ruining.

“Earlier I used to sell goods on my own shop at other place in Srinagar but due to the political turmoil in the valley, we already have borne heavy losses. To minimize further loss I came here to sell my goods.”

Jameel Ahmad, an apparel seller said: “People from different markets came here to do some business to feed their family.”

“I was working at Lal Ded road Srinagar and had just Rs 15000 with me when the restrictions started.  When my whole money finished, I was bound to come out of my home to meet the demands of my family,” Jameel Ahmad added.

“I had no money even to buy medicine for my ailing father, those circumstances brought me to this market to sell fruits,” said a fruit seller Fayaz Ahmad Najar.



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