Owing to the strict curfew restrictions during the day, people in Srinagar find it easier to venture out at night to buy essential commodities. And it’s women who do the shopping.
Since restrictions entered the 10th day in the old city and curfew entered the fourth day across Srinagar, people found novel ways to address their basic needs.
Milkmen and green grocers are selling their products to curfew-bound people during the night, when the CRPF and police are in fewer numbers on the roads and curfew restrictions are milder.
For milkman Abdul Hameed, night is the time for business, not the day. His supplier from Ganderbal, 30 km north of Srinagar, delivers milk at his shop in downtown Rainawari in the dead of night.
“Troops withdraw around 10 pm and I open my shop. During the night I boil the milk and when the daybreak approaches, people come for milk. By 5.30 am my milk gets exhausted,” he said.
“During normal days I used to sell 4 quintals of milk but during these nights now I sell about 7 quintals,” he said.
Similar is the case with vegetable sellers. In Kawdara, farmers producing green vegetables disperse before daybreak to the various areas of the old city to sell their produce.
“But they make sure they reach their homes before 6 in the morning. After that, the curfew restrictions are very harsh,” said Shabir Ahmad, a Kawdara resident.
“We have to go out at night. If we don’t sell our goods, they will rot. What will we eat?” asked a farmer not wishing to be named.
The shopping is done mostly by women after morning prayers around 5 o’clock.
“Yesterday, after my morning prayers, I decided to get some vegetables but was chased away by CRPF men. Somehow, I managed to run away,” said Mohammad Amin of Nowpora.
“But now my wife goes out. They (CRPF) don’t feel threatened by womenfolk. But she makes sure she returns before 6 am.
After that nobody is allowed on the streets,” he said.