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Article 35 A: Uncertainty hits wedding businesses in Kashmir

Srinagar, Aug 30: Uncertainty over Article 35 A is affecting the wedding businesses in Kashmir, with local chefs and the likes getting hit hard.

Amid the season of weddings, scores of marriages have been postponed for the last one week as the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the petitions over Article 35A on Friday.

The hearing has been deferred twice in this month. At the same time, people prefer to cancel their weddings, apprehending that any tempering with the legislation could lead to unrest in Kashmir.

The change in plans has also meant a series of cancellations of orders with chefs, butchers, and makers of sweets, and other items for marriage ceremonies.

Former president of Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation, Mohammad SadiqBaqal, said that businesses have been largely affected due to uncertainty over Article 35A. “The situation is not stable. People are not making purchases for weddings,” Baqal, said who is dealing with garments and cosmetics at Gonikhan, the market known for the purchase of wedding related items.  “People are mentally disturbed. Weddings are being cancelled. The traders are not importing goods for marriage ceremonies due to uncertainty,” he said.

He said that Kashmir would witness Rs 3000 crore business on an average daily. “The businesses have been affected around 60 percent,” he said.

Chairman Kashmir Economic Alliance (K), Mohammad Yaseen Khan, said that petitions seeking abrogation of Article 35A have to be dismissed.

“Kashmiris are being forced to take to the streets. We are suffering heavily because of uncertainty. We are ready to sacrifice anything as our existence is at stake,” Khan said.

In the season of marriages, which in Kashmir mostly take place for three month between August and mid-October, the calling of weddings has left chefs in despair.

“This was the peak wedding season and we were fully booked till September. Many people are postponing weddings or holding them in an austere manner without Wazwan,” Ghulam Mohammad, a local chef from old city’s Maharaj Gunj, said.   “We make money only in the wedding season but the uncertainty has badly hit our business,” he added.

Valley weddings are elaborate affairs with extravagant feasts, exotic dishes are prepared for days together at the homes of the bride and groom.

“Around 60 percent orders have been cancelled for the last one week. If there is any tempering with the legislation, I doubt if any marriage will take place in the coming weeks,” Ghulam Mohammad, a meat seller in Hazratbal said.

Local dailies are splashed with notices of cancelled weddings or informing guests not to come for a feast as marriages would be held in an austere manner in view of the situation.

“Due to prevailing situation in the Valley, the invitation of marriage ceremony of my daughter for 31 of august and one 1 September 2018 is accordingly cancelled. However, Nikkah will be held as per schedule with simplicity,” reads the notice published in a local daily by Mehraj ud din lanker of Elahibagh.