Srinagar has run out of green cloth - and hospitals are stocking up on blood - in advance of a separatist-organised march to the United Nations’ office on Monday.
In store after store in downtown areas of Jammu and Kashmir’s winter capital, green cloth was unavailable.
“It has been bought to make Hurriyat flags,” said tailor Reyaz Wani. “For Pampore march, I worked all night, stitching over 100 flags. I turned down many orders as I had no time.”
The separatist All Party Hurriyat Conference flag is green, with the slogan Nar-e-taqbeer, allah-o-akbar (Divine slogan: God is Great) written in Kashmiri across it. Hurriyat leaders have urged supporters to fly only this flag, avoiding those of Pakistani and the militant outfit Lashkar-e-Tayyeba.
Black cloth has not disappeared, but it’s not easy to find as the Hurriyat has made it mandatory for private vehicles to fly them to protest Indian rule.
Cloth sellers have been exempted from shutdowns called by the Hurriyat. “We have been told to acquire more green and black cloth,” said Wani.
With a march to the United Nations’ office on Monday and a second ‘March to Muzzafarabad’ to be announced soon after, Srinagar is bracing for the worst.
Hospitals and blood banks are acquiring as much blood as they can. “We have enough,” said Dr Wasim, medical superintendent at the SMHS hospital. “Hundreds came to donate after the recent killings. But one never knows how much we may need if things go wrong. We’ve asked donors to leave contact numbers.”