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Jammu traders demand security of non-local businessmen in Kashmir

JAMMU: Protesting the recent killing of an eatery owner's son in Srinagar, a group of traders staged a protest here on Wednesday and demanded safety and security of the non-local businessmen working in the Kashmir valley.

Akash Mehra was shot at by terrorists inside the Krishna Dhaba, a popular eatery in a high-security area of Srinagar, on February 17. He succumbed to his injuries at a hospital on February 28.

Mehra was the second non-local businessman shot dead by terrorists in Srinagar in the recent past. On December 31 last year, Satpal Singh Nischal, a goldsmith, was killed in his shop.

The traders staged a protest against Mehra''s killing at the Nehru Market here and appealed to the government to identify the assailants at the earliest.

"Terrorists are targeting non-local businessmen in Kashmir, which is not a good sign.... The way traders from outside are being targeted in Kashmir, an atmosphere of fear is being created," Deepak Gupta, general secretary of the Warehouse Traders'' Federation, said.

After the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution in August 2019, the government is inviting traders and industrialists from all over the country to invest in Jammu and Kashmir, he pointed out and wondered who would come to the valley in such a situation.

Gupta said the government provides protection to separatist leaders such as Syed Ali Shah Geelani, but has left the traders at the mercy of terrorists.

"The government must ensure the safety and security of all outsiders, especially the traders, working in Kashmir," Gupta said.

He also demanded adequate relief to Mehra''s family members and their protection in Srinagar.

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PTI