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Will trade with Pakistan if VHP creates economic blockade, says Kashmir’s business community

Srinagar:The business community in Kashmir on Sunday warned of snapping ties with Jammu-based traders and using Muzaffarabad Srinagar route for trade while Hurriyat’s Ali Shah Geelani warned of a public movement in the event of an VHP-sponsored economic blockade of the Valley.

President of Kashmir Traders and Manufactures Federation (KTMF), Yasin Khan said,”We want to send a clear message to our counterparts in Jammu to explain their position on the VHP statement. Do they want to do business with us or support the radical group like VHP which is hell-bent to divide the state on communal lines?”

The statement comes in the wake of VHP threat, on Friday, to launch “2008-like agitation” in Jammu and enforce economic blockade to Kashmir if State Legislative Assembly allowed any discussion regarding revocation of ban on the sale of beef.

“The ball is in the court of Jammu business community.We want them to go public on the issue and their silence will be taken as acceptance to the designs of the communal forces,” he said.

Khan, who is also chairman of Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), said if such a situation arises, they would use Muzaffarabad Srinagar route for their business activities.

“We won’t hesitate to use Muzaffarabad Srinagar route for a full-fledged trade so that Kashmir does not remain dependent on Jammu region,” he said.

Khan also said the traders want Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to clear stand on the threat by the VHP.

He said the business community of the Valley supported amending the law to allow consumption of beef in the state.

Hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani warned of a public movement if any such thing was enforced on the Valley.

“The economic blockade of the Kashmir will have very serious consequences and the situation will be out of control for everybody,” Geelani said in a statement here.

The Hurriyat chairman said the economic blockade of Kashmir would create serious situation in the Valley and the population would heavily suffer due to the lack of food items and medicine.

“If the communal forces enforced any type of economic blockade on Kashmir, a public movement will be started against that and the people will protest this act of terrorism on roads,” he said.

Meanwhile, the CPI(M) has termed the economic VHP’s economic blockade threat as “provocative and disastrous”.

“The VHP’s statement on discussion on repeal of 298 A, 298 B, 298 C and 298 D of Ranbir Panel Code (which criminalises slaughter of bovine animals) is provocative and disastrous,” CPI(M) leader and MLA M Y Tarigami said here.

VHP had on Friday threatened to launch a massive agitation and enforce an economic blockade in Jammu and Kashmir if the assembly allowed a discussion to revoke provisions criminalising bovine slaughter and sale of beef in the state.