Srinagar: The mass cancellation of weddings in Kashmir due to the prevailing situation has severely hit scores of businesses associated with such functions.
In view of the uncertainty prevailing for the last four weeks after abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state, scores of marriages scheduled for these days and coming months have been either postponed or carried out with austerity.
The prevailing situation impacted the income of wazas, the traditional chefs, who otherwise had already a full season booked all the way till November.
Ghulam Ahmad Khan, a chef from Budgam had expected a good season ahead. Such was the rush that Khan had to reject offers from many of his clients till July.
However, for the past four weeks, he is idling at home and eagerly waiting for the call from the clients for cooking feasts for marriage.
He, during the last one month, missed many of the fat weddings for which he was supposed to cook wazwaan.
“Wazas (local chefs) eagerly waited for this season. I along with my team of eight chefs was scheduled to cook wazwaan for the next two and a half months. Unfortunately, every day my clients inform me about the postponement of marriages,” he said.
Not just these chefs, there are other associated businesses with marriage ceremonies as well which have been heavily impacted due to the current situation.
For instance mutton, the imports of which from many states of India increase during the marriage season, has declined below the average import.
Mehraj-ud-Din Ganie, a mutton dealer, said that the majority of the dealers have cut down their imports from states including Amritsar, Uttar Pradesh in view of the ongoing situation in Kashmir.
“Nearly 75-100 trucks of sheep would be imported to Kashmir during the wedding season on an average. Currently, the import is equal to nothing and mostly the stocks bought for Eid are currently being used for marriages,” he said.
Ganaie said that most weddings in Kashmir at present are taking place with austerity.
“Those who would have planned to cook one quintal mutton manage with half a quintal by cutting down the number of invitees,” he said.
The poultry sector equally faced a blow. Fearing losses, scores of the poultry dealers are selling chicken as cheaper rates in many parts of Kashmir.
Saleem Ahmad, a Baramulla based poultry dealer who has purchased hundreds of chick a month ago is now selling them at cheaper rates in various villages of north Kashmir.
“Every morning I load my vehicle with chicken and sell it at Rs 100 per kilogram. Normally a kilo of chicken would cost Rs 140-150. If I don’t sell them they would die due to the lack of food,” he said.
Spice and dry fruit sellers are equally distressed as they had to close their outlets due to the prevailing situation.
All the dealers in Srinagar’s spice and dry fruit markets including Koker bazar, Maharaja Bazar, Maharaj Gunj have closed down their shops for the last two weeks.
The tent providers and people associated with catering services in marriages claim their season of earnings has slipped away as marriages don’t take place with utter pomp-and- show.
“Our earning is dependent on these two months only unlike other business who run round the year. Now those who hold functions like marriage don’t avail our service and use their homes to accommodate guests, who are numbered,” said Abdul Ahad Bhat a tent provider.
Fresh restrictions in Kashmir in view of Friday prayers
Fresh restrictions were imposed in parts of Kashmir on Friday as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in view of congregational prayers, officials said.
Normal life continued to remain affected across the valley for the 47th consecutive day with markets closed and public transport off the roads, the officials said.
Restrictions under Section 144 CrPc have been imposed in few areas of the valley to maintain law and order, the officials said.
They said the curbs have been imposed in Nowhatta and adjoining areas in downtown (interior city) and Anchar area of Soura police station in Srinagar.
The restrictions have also been imposed in Kupwara and Handwara police districts and the main towns of Ganderbal, Anantnag and Bijbehara, the officials added.
Security forces have been deployed in strength in vulnerable areas in the rest of the valley, they said.
The officials said the curbs were a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in view of apprehensions that vested interests might exploit the large Friday prayer gatherings at big mosques and shrines to fuel protests.
Friday prayers have not been allowed at any of the major mosques or shrines – including Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta or Dargah Sharief in Hazratbal – in the valley for the past over a month now.
Restrictions were first imposed across Kashmir on August 5 when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate the state into two Union territories. The restrictions were lifted in phases from many parts of the valley.
Internet services have remained suspended across all platforms, they said. While landlines across the valley were functional, voice calls on mobile devices were working only in Kupwara and Handwara police districts of north Kashmir, they added.
The efforts of the state government to open schools have not borne fruit as parents continued to keep children at home due to apprehensions about their safety.
Most of the top-level and second rung mainstream politicians, including three former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, continued to be in detention or under house arrest.
While NC president Farooq Abdullah was first placed under house arrest, he was on Tuesday booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
His son Omar and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti were detained on the night of August 4 — hours before the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and to bifurcate the state into two Union territories.
Most of the mainstream leaders, including former ministers and legislators, were also either detained or kept under house arrest, the officials said.
Ignoring protests, Gates Foundation to give Narendra Modi global award
New York: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be awarding the Global Gatekeepers Award to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his leadership in India’s achievement sanitation, the organisation has announced.
“Modi is receiving an award at the Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the progress India is making in improving sanitation, as part of its drive toward achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” the Foundation said in a statement to IANS on Wednesday.
“Sanitation is a key factor in improving the health and well-being of millions of people, especially women and children,” it added.
Modi is being recognised by the foundation in New York on September 24 for the Swachh Bharat Mission of which the constructions of toilets is a key element.
A motley collection of Indian secularists, Pakistanis, activists and entertainers have opposed the award to Modi alleging he was responsible for human rights violations and for India rescinding the special status for Kashmir.
Some influential US media also published articles demanding that the Foundation cancel the award.
The publications include Foreign Policy magazine’s website, and Washington Post that is owned by Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, which has disputes with the Indian government. The Post published an opinion article by two Indian-origin lawyers.
An organisation called S Asian Philanthropy published in the Medium a letter signed by people of Indian origin and others representing various foundations and NGOs.
National Public Radio reported that a dozen demonstrators with “Stop Genocide, a project of the American human rights group Justice For All”, delivered a petition with 100,000 signatures to the Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle protesting the award for Modi.
The radio also said that three Nobel Peace Prize winners – Shirin Ebadi of Iran, Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman of Yemen and Mairead Maguire of Britain – had also sent the Gates a protest letter.
Army nabs Gurdaspur man on charges of spying for Pakistan
Gurdaspur, September 19: A resident of Tibri village here was nabbed by Army officials for allegedly providing photographs of the cantonment area and the under-construction Kartarpur corridor to someone in Pakistan, police said on Thursday.
Vipan Singh was held by Army personnel on Wednesday, said Kulwinder Singh, Station House Officer (SHO), Purana Shalla police station in Gurdaspur.Officers of the military intelligence were still questioning Singh, the police said, adding that he was yet to be handed over to them.
The suspect was allegedly offered Rs 10 lakh for providing sensitive information, though it was yet be verified, the police said.Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian border to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur up to the border is being built by India.
The Kartarpur corridor will connect Darbar Sahib–the final resting place of Guru Nanak in Pakistan’s Kartarpur–with the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib