An uneasy silence has engulfed a small market in Srinagar, which might in any other case be frequented by tons of of vacationers and locals day by day, after the killing of the son of an eatery proprietor.
For the previous 13 days, the Durga-Nag market at Dalgate in Srinagar has been desolate and locals and merchants in grief. The market’s star landmark Krishna Dhaba was hit by a tragedy final month.
Aakash Mehra, 25, the one son of the eatery’s proprietor Ramesh Chandra Mehra was shot-at on February 17 and succumbed to his accidents 11 days later.
The eatery is known for its vegetarian dishes which are a magnet for a big quantity of clients and has been the principle motive for the flurry of exercise in the world. Among its clientele, are many of Srinagar’s influential and distinguished individuals.
Other shopkeepers in the locality mentioned that the younger Mehra was finding out in Jammu and had come to assist his father after the lockdown induced by the Covid-19 pandemic was lifted just a few months again.
Mehra’s prolonged household, which is initially from Jammu and has been right here for the previous many a long time, runs 4 eateries and two basic shops in the market. There are half a dozen Kashmir artwork retailers and a candy retailer run by locals and a industrial advanced close to Krishna dhaba. All the retailers largely have been rented out by a belief. While the Mehra’s have been closed because the attack, the entire market was shut on Sunday and Monday as a mark of protest over the killing. Though the opposite retailers had been open on Tuesday, the roadside carts which might add to the hustle and bustle exterior the Mehra’s dhaba had been absent.
“Everybody in this market is heartbroken. The market closed for two days after his death. This place is famous because of them and they are always helpful to everyone here,” mentioned Javaid Ahmad Khan, who runs a Kashmir artwork outlet simply reverse the dhaba on the opposite aspect of the highway.
“I live here and have grown up with them. During floods in 2014, they also helped in organising a langar here” he mentioned. “They have been here for many decades and nobody raised a finger against them during the thick of militancy”.
Khan was in his store when the attack befell on the late night of February 17 as most of Srinagar was observing a spontaneous shutdown throughout the go to of a delegation of EU envoys.
He heard the sound of the primary bullet late night and thought it was a firecracker. The sound of two extra photographs despatched individuals scurrying. Khan rushed out of his store and ran to the dhaba the place Mehra was mendacity injured.
“I didn’t see them but people say they came on a bike, went to the counter and fired thrice at him. There was a lot of rush that day owing to strike on the occasion of the visit of a foreign delegation,” he mentioned.
Khan mentioned that he visited the injured Mehra in the hospital on the second day earlier than he underwent a surgical procedure for his perforated intestines. “He asked if I had seen them. I said, no, I was inside. I thought he would be fine but then his condition deteriorated after the surgery,” he mentioned.
Police have already arrested three individuals concerned in the attack who they mentioned have confessed to the crime. Kashmir’s inspector basic of police (IGP) Vijay Kumar had mentioned on February 19 that the trio was newly recruited militants and was instigated by The Resistance Front (TRF) to strike at Krishna Dhaba the place vacationer rush is all the time excessive and the store even stays open throughout hartals. The police have additionally recovered the bike and the pistol used in the attack.
However, most of the individuals in the market mentioned that the Mehra’s would all the time shut on the event of strike calls.
“They would always close their shop on hartals. That day many other shops were also open. It was not clear why they opened that day but it may be because there was ambiguity as there was no call of shutdown. But that does not mean they should be killed. There seems to be some conspiracy behind this,” mentioned an auto driver who usually ferries vacationers to the world.
“We had witnessed a good rush of tourists from January 20 to February 15. Now it is just silence,” he mentioned.
The merchants have been mulling to ship a delegation to specific their condolences to the Mehra household in Jammu.
“Whosoever did this is condemnable. He was an innocent young man. The market has been desolate since Krishna Dhaba closed. It was the reason for the footfall in our trade outlets,” mentioned Manzoor Ahmad, president of Durga-Nag Traders’ Union.