Business establishments remained largely closed and public transport was sparsely available, with the inter-district movement of vehicles impacted as well. Police officials in Lal Chowk area were seen calling shopkeepers, directing them to open the shops or face consequences. Some men in civvies broke open the locks of a few shops with iron rods and blades in the presence of police officials.
“This is the first time in the last 60 years I am witnessing that police are breaking locks of our shops in broad daylight… who will provide security then?” a shopkeeper, who claimed that his shop’s lock was broken by some men in the presence of police officials, said on condition of anonymity.
Another shopkeeper, who too did not wish to be identified, said, “The police told me to open the shop, otherwise it would be sealed tomorrow.”
Revenue and police officials had held meetings with the representatives of traders and directed them not to observe a shutdown on the call of Hurriyat or any other organisation on August 5, 2019. “Sub district magistrate in the revenue department of Srinagar and senior superintendent of police in Srinagar called us for meetings and clearly stated that hartals (strikes) won’t be tolerated and business community should not pay heed to any strike call. We were told that anyone supporting anti-national calls becomes a participant in it,” said Farhan Kitan, core member of the All India Retailers Association and head of Kashmir Retailers Association.
Meanwhile, former chief minister of J&K Mehbooba Mufti took out a brief protest march at her office in Srinagar, terming August 5 a black day. “No words or pictures are enough to depict the pain, torment and upheaval inflicted upon J&K on this black day two years ago. When unbridled oppression is unleashed and gross injustice heaped there is no other choice but to resist to exist,” she tweeted.