Srinagar, January 1
Markets and tourist spots were abuzz with activities on the first day of 2017 following a five-day-long relaxation in strike from today after normal life remained crippled during the last two-day due to shutdown in Kashmir, which reeled under unrest since July 9.
This is for the third successive week since July 9 that separatists have asked people to do normal business for five consecutive days from the last day of a weekend. Earlier, the separatists used to give relaxation only over the weekends.
The famous Sunday Market witnessed a large number of customers purchasing goods, mostly woollen, at hundreds of stalls put up by vendors.
Almost all tourist destinations, including world famous ski resort of Gulmarg, health resorts of Pahalgam, Kokernag, Sonmarg in Kashmir witnessed heavy rush of locals, who had gone to these destinations to celebrate New Year.
“We reached Gumlarg yesterday in the evening to celebrate New Year. Last around six months have been very tough for everyone in Kashmir. We were confined to our houses. Now that the situation has improved a bit, my friends and I came here to enjoy and welcome New Year with a positive note. Hopefully 2017 will bring peace and prosperity for the state and its people,” a local businessman, Zahoor Ahmad Rather, told UNI over the phone.
Meanwhile, all gates to historic Jamia Masjid were opened and people were allowed inside the compound while Jamia Market also witnessed heavy rush of customers in the wake of the relaxation given by separatists.
Both the factions of Hurriyat Conference and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), spearheading the agitation since July 9, in its latest calendar they have called for a strike only on two days, Friday and Saturday, in a week in the first fortnight of January.
Even though the summer capital witnessed a dip in the night temperature after mercury settled at minus 4.3 degree, Srinagar once again came alive today as shops and business establishments reopened.
The streets were flooded with vehicles and some routes witnessed traffic jams in the city, where traffic police personnel were on their toes to maintain smooth traffic movement.