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Partial Shutdown in Srinagar Against J&K Real Estate Summit
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Partial Shutdown in Srinagar Against J&K Real Estate Summit

Many shopkeepers said that they feel dispossessed and disempowered by whatever the administration has been doing. “They want to settle outsiders here by dispossessing us and want us to act normally, which is impossible.”


SRINAGAR — A partial shutdown was observed in the Downtown area of the capital city Srinagar on Saturday against the first ever Real Estate Summit organised by the Government of India and the J&K Administration on December 28, 2021, in Jammu.

Organised jointly by the Union Ministry for Housing and Urban Affairs and the J&K Administration, the two-day Jammu and Kashmir Real Estate Summit (2021) was addressed by Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha. 

In the summit, the administration encouraged people from across the country to buy land, or a second home, in Jammu and Kashmir.

Even as the local shopkeepers in downtown observed a shutdown against the summit, many shopkeepers alleged that the armed forces forced them to open the shops. 

“The shops were closed but after some time some shopkeepers opened their shops after they were forced to do so,” said a shopkeeper on the conditions of anonymity.

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Many shopkeepers that the Mountain Ink spoke to, said that they were fearful of speaking to the media as it would end them up in jail. 

A shopkeeper said that the armed forces told them to open shops or be ready to face the action. “This is the oppression that we are subjected to. We are not allowed to express ourselves,” he added. 

Many shopkeepers said that they feel dispossessed and disempowered by whatever the administration has been doing. “They want to settle outsiders here by dispossessing us and want us to act normally, which is impossible,” another shopkeeper said.

He said that the Government of India wants to “portray the facade of normalcy here” by forcing us to act normally. “For how long is this going to work?” he asked.

The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) President Sheikh Ashiq, meanwhile, refused to comment on the issue. 

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The summit has led to the fear of demographic changes in the region and has drawn sharp criticism from across the valley. Slamming the Government of India for organising the summit and calling for buying the property in J&K, locals and regional political parties have accused New Delhi of “putting J&K up for sale”.

Separatist political forum, Hurriyat Conference, called the summit a step towards “demographic change” in the region.

Congress Working Committee (CWC) member Tariq Hameed Karra has said that this was a clear-cut first step in the movement to settle non-domiciles in Jammu and Kashmir.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president and former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, called the summit a “brazen loot” and tweeted, “GOIs brazen loot & sale of our resources shows that the sole motive is to annihilate our identity & change the demography.”

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