Kashmir traders seek removal of bunkers and concertina wires from Lal Chowk

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Traders bodies in Kashmir have asked the police to remove concertina wires and forces bunkers from Lal Chowk in Srinagar, so that the area could be given a facelift.

In a meeting of traders and senior police officials facilitated by Srinagar police on Saturday, the traders said they wanted more business friendly atmosphere in and around the markets, Hindustan Times reported.

The meeting according to the report was was chaired by SSP Srinagar Sandeep Choudhary, and was attended by representatives of the market federations of Lal Chowk, Koker Bazaar, Maisuma, Residency Road, Polo View, Red Cross Road and Karalkhud markets.

President Kashmir Retailers Association, Farhan Kitab said “Traders should be treated with ‘dignity and honour’. This is the least we can expect in a democracy.”

He said the police officials said they have been sensitising the men on ground regarding the same. On the second anniversary of the revocation of Article 370 on August 5 when a spontaneous shutdown was observed in Srinagar, traders had alleged that police officers were coercing and forcing the shopkeepers and businessmen to open their establishments. The traders said that the events which happened on August 5 were not specifically discussed in the meeting.

Kitab said that the traders also sought removal of concertina wires and security bunkers –permanent as well as mobile – from the place, particularly from the entire stretch of Clock Tower to Polo-View. “The razor wires and the bunkers give the place a very shabby look and make it appear very menacing for the customers,” he said.

Polo-View Traders Association general secretary Mohammad Nayeem Mir said that the traders also flagged the dearth of parking spaces. He said that the senior police officer agreed to look into the removal of concertina wires and said they would try to reduce the sizes of bunkers.

“The officer said that there can be no compromise vis-à-vis the security of the place but they will try to reduce the size of the bunker,” Mir said, adding that aluminium blocks will be placed around the tower as opposed to concertina wires.

police spokesperson said that the meeting was a part of a public outreach programme by the police community partnership group (PCPG).He said that the main aim of the meeting was to facilitate interaction with community members and redress their grievances so as to create cordial police-public relationship.

“The statement quoted SSP Srinagar Sandeep Choudhary saying that such meetings are conducted to solicit the suggestions and support of people for better policing and would be conducted in future as well.

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