Day after tension, Lal Chowk back to businessJanuary 27th, 2011 - 2:17 pm ICT by IANS
Srinagar, Jan 27 (IANS) A day after curfew-like restrictions, life in Srinagar and other towns of Kashmir Valley bounced back to normal Thursday. City centre Lal Chowk, which had been tense over plans to unfurl the national flag there, was its bustling self.Markets opened early despite the morning winter chill as transport plied normally to ferry officegoers and businessmen to their places of work.
“It’s difficult to believe this is the same place that witnessed an eerie silence throughout the day Wednesday,” said Muhammad Ramzan, 35, a government employee here.
This year tensions had unusually mounted in Srinagar city as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced its decision to hoist the national flag in city centre Lal Chowk Jan 26, when India celebrates Republic Day.
Reacting to the BJP’s plan, the separatist Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) also announced a counter march to Lal Chowk the same day.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, taking Home Minister P. Chidambaram on board, decided to crack the whip on both the BJP and the JKLF in order to ensure that nobody was allowed to vitiate the atmosphere in the valley.
Normalcy has returned to the valley after a bloody summer unrest that claimed 110 lives as irate protesters and security forces clashed here for over four months, crippling life and dealing a severe blow to tourism-based local economy.
The security forces swooped down on senior BJP leaders and activists in the Jammu region and Srinagar, and the JKLF march was also firmly put down by the authorities here.
“Lal Chowk has a history of political upheavals. The separatists still maintain it was at this city centre that the first prime minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, promised referendum to Kashmiris.
“Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi had led a flag march to Lal Chowk in 1992 guarded by heavy security,” said Manzoor Ahmad, 36, a resident of the adjacent Abi Guzar locality here.
“Last year separatists announced many marches to Lal Chowk and during one of them, government offices and public property were set ablaze.”
Despite political upheavals and one-upmanship of marches to this major business hub of Srinagar, Lal Chowk Thursday opened normally for business, with shoppers and commuters walking around.
Perhaps the resumption of normalcy in Lal Chowk was a signal to politicians — leave the city centre to the care of pavement sellers and shopkeepers whose families depend on it for their livelihood.
“Politics can wait, but my family needs two square meals daily for which Lal Chowk must function normally,” said Mehraj-ud-Din, who sells fruit near the city centre here.
- Republic Day peaceful in Kashmir; separatist, BJP marches foiled (Second Lead) - Jan 26, 2011
- BJP activists, separatists held on peaceful R-Day in Kashmir (Lead) - Jan 26, 2011
- BJP's Tiranga Yatra not to be allowed to enter Kashmir - Jan 18, 2011
- JKLF members clash with police in Srinagar - Feb 10, 2012
- Tension on Kashmir-Punjab border as BJP rally marches on (Afternoon Lead) - Jan 25, 2011
- Jammu-Srinagar highway shut to prevent BJP march - Jan 25, 2011
- National Conference accuses BJP of arousing communal passions - Jan 21, 2011
- Four BJP leaders detained at Srinagar airport - Jan 25, 2011
- Jammu-Srinagar highway shut to prevent BJP march (Lead) - Jan 25, 2011
- Kashmir government to deal with BJP's flag hoisting plans - Jan 16, 2011
- Shutdown on JKLF founder's death anniversary - Feb 11, 2012
- Yatra stopped to please separatists: BJP; flag hoisted at Madhopur (Roundup) - Jan 26, 2011
- Omar again asks BJP to abandon Kashmir yatra - Jan 14, 2011
- Kashmir on high alert ahead of Republic Day - Jan 24, 2011
- JKLF chief Yasin Malik arrested at protest march - Sep 07, 2012
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