Normality returned to Kashmir Valley on Sunday albeit for a brief period amid a fresh calendar of protests and strike rolled out by the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani.
It was nearly after a month that life returned to normal though on two previous occasions the separatists had relaxed their programme of unending strikes. Markets overflowed with people who came to buy essential commodities.
There were hours-long traffic jams.
Even as it was Sunday, the Jammu and Kashmir Bank and some other private banks had opened their branches for the convenience of the people. Shops, business establishments and some educational institutions opened early morning to compensate the losses. Kashmir University also cancelled all holidays and Sundays and asked its staff to work for nine hours to make up for the lost time.
As people thronged the markets, traffic also surged on to the roads and led to jams almost everywhere and moved at snail's pace. Major roads were blocked for many hours. “It looks like as if tomorrow it is Id as people are on a shopping spree,” said Mansoor Ahmad, a student. Shopkeepers are also expecting to sell more as they have faced enormous losses in the past four weeks.
“We have suffered a lot and today we expect to make something,” said Abdul Aziz, a shopkeeper on Residency Road.
However, the business houses are still facing problems as the flow of money has almost stopped with many government offices not able to function and banks closed.
The Kashmir Valley has been reeling under trouble for the last one month during which 16 people — mostly youth — died in police and CRPF actions.
The separatist alliance of the Hurriyat had been calling for protests since June 26.