Amarnath Yatra: Admin closes Pantha chowk shops, owners protest

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Scores of shopkeepers Wednesday appealed to LG- led administration to reconsider their decision of closed down their shops in Pantha chowk area of Srinagar outskirts till the end of Amarnath Yatra, reported a local news agency.

Kashmir News Trust (KNT) reported that the shopkeepers mostly dealing with spare parts’ business assembled in Press Enclave Srinagar and registered a protest against the decision to bar them from opening shops in wake of Amarnath Yatra.

However, police refuted the claims, saying that the shops are open except about a dozen or more mechanical or scrap shops inside yatra campus.

“The shop owners were asked to get verification done and operate the shops, but instead of doing this they opted to protest under influence of some vested interests,” Rakesh Bhalwal, Senior Superintendent of Police, Srinagar, said in a statement.

The 43-day pilgrimage to the cave shrine will begin from twin base camps in Kashmir on Thursday and will conclude on 11 August.

“We have been directed to close our shops for 40 days. It is injustice. Our families will starve. We are already economically weak,” one of the protesting shopkeepers Suhail Ahmed told KNT.

The protesting shopkeepers said that the route that yatris will use is far away from their shops and yet they are being barred to open their shops.

“There are at least 60 shops that have been closed down. We knocked the doors of every official, but nobody listened to us,” they said and requested LG Manoj Sinha to intervene in the matter.

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