SRINAGAR: Daily strikes for one or the other reason have become a norm in Kashmir. Since 2008 there have been four major cycles of Hartals in Kashmir. Amarnath land row in 2008, Shopian episode, 2010 uprising and killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani 2016 hampered the economic growth and public services badly. In year 2018 too many productive days have been wasted in Kashmir due to frequent strikes and unrest.
The frequent cycles of strikes have lead to each important sector from education to health, tourism sector to other trades being badly impacted. Already students in Kashmir have lost many academic days due to strikes and upheavals. Many voices are now urging to do away with strike politics as it is taking a heavy count on every sector in Kashmir.
“I work as a driver and I am actually just like daily wager depend upon daily income and I have taken loan from the bank for my new vehicle but the unrest of 2016 and now hartals one or the other day give me a tough time, I risked my life many a times because I had to pay back my loan, we need to think other strategies to carry forward our political issues otherwise we will have to pay a heavy price. For us drivers and daily wagers we can run the kitchen needs only when it is open and no shutdown or unrest like situation,” said Shabir Ahmad, a driver.
“Common daily business is impacted and the chorus of life comes to halt due to strikes and frequent unrests and at the receiving end are the poor daily wagers like us for whom earning some income daily is a matter of life and death. For us the poor people the leadership of Kashmir should think of other mechanisms substitute to strikes. Unrest and strikes break back of poor man in Kashmir,” stated Gulzar Ahmad, a street vendor.
On the otherhand, experienced voices believe that absence of competitive academic culture will hurt the proficiency of Kashmiri youngsters in top level competitive exams. Academic expert G N Var (President Private Schools Association), while talking to the Kashmir News Bureau in this regard sometime back stated – “First and foremost education should be kept politics and conflict neutral. This strict administrative fiefdom bereft of any logic and rationale should end. The State government undertook all measures to keep situation normal during recent tourism TAAI Meet but no seriousness displayed when it comes to education.
During world war at one place even the two enemy armies agreed to keep schools open while as here we are following overall headless policies.” During the strike and unrest days not only has these ills but even the government employees found it difficult to reach to their offices on the days of hartals thus causing more inconvenience to the general public who have lot of pending work to sort at the government offices.
While as on the otherhand the all important tourism sector on which much of Kashmir populace depends has been hit hard. Mudasir Muran, an eminent tourism related entrepreneur while talking to the Kashmir News Bureau stated – “The tourism sector has once again in 2018 not at all taken off this year due to continued uncertainty. Already the street protests coupled with heavy public unrest in 2008, 2010, 2016 have adversely impacted the overall tourism growth. The reason for degrading of Kashmir’s tourism industry can`t be totally attributed to political instability, disturbance or security concerns.
Be it hartals, bandhs or curfews it has shown how fragile peace is in valley and how it disrupts the normal life be it education, trade, healthcare, education and the all important tourism sector too gets adversely impacted .” The ground pulse is that strikes have a crippling impact on each and important sector of Kashmir and the urge is that too ensure prosperity in Kashmir strikes and unrest have to be done away with.