‘From bikes to doors of three-wheelers, they are seizing everything that is moving’

Nov 9, 2021 | Kashmir Coverage (General News)

At around 8:30 pm in the night, a man in his mid-60s pleads with the police officer at Jehangir Chowk. His scooty has been seized while he was travelling towards his home from the hospital where his sister is admitted.

“I have an emergency,” he kept saying, but all his pleads fell on deaf ears.

In a low tone, he murmured “yeman cha sadaraat panin, kus wanekh keh (it is their administration, who is going to tell them anything)” and left the spot after boarding a bus.

Armed forces personnel deployed on the streets of Srinagar ahead of Home Minister of India Amit Shah’s visit. [FPK File Photo/Zainab]

Shayaan, a worker at the RO office said that his bike was seized at Jehangir Chowk at around 2:45 pm when he was going towards Natipora from Chattabal.

“I was supposed to be at work but I’m waiting at a police station for no reason. I have shown them all the documents, still my bike was seized,” he said.

Standing beside him, Rauhan Manzoor says his scooty was also seized at the same spot when he was going towards the Lal Ded hospital to attend to a patient.

When Free Press Kashmir asked the Sub Inspector of Police about the seizing of bikes he said that “we are following orders”, and refused to comment further.

Armed forces personnel are seen stopping public vehicles for frisking in late evening at Jehangir Chowk. [FPK Photo/Zainab]

Several bikers were seen standing outside Kothi Bagh Police Station, with people approaching the officials to know when their bikes are to be released.

At Kothi Police Station, the SHO said that the bikes which are at the police station “will be given back to the bikers at 6:30 pm after proper verification”.

Meanwhile, a biker at Shaheed Gunj Police Station told Free Press Kashmir that his bike had been there for the past two days.

“I have been coming here to know when my bike will be released as it is affecting my livelihood. I work at a private company where I am a salesperson and my duty is to drop products at different locations in Srinagar. How I am supposed to do that and feed my family when my bike is here”.

The police at serval locations could also be seen removing doors of three wheelers too.

An auto-rickshaw driver removes the doors of his vehicle as armed forces personnel were confiscating rickshaw doors in late evening at Jehangir Chowk. [FPK Photo/Zainab]

At around 8:00 pm, a auto driver waiting for his door to be returned said that “which passenger will board in my auto as the winter season is knocking on the doors and the weatherman has predicted heavy rainfall”.

“No one will board my auto as it is cold outside and it will not be possible to earn for me,” the driver says.

“From bikes to doors of three-wheelers, they are seizing everything that is moving”

Another auto driver said that the police officer didn’t say when the doors will be returned after they were confiscated.

Besides these measures, Internet too was shut down in multiples places across Kashmir.

The seizing of two-wheelers in Srinagar city, confiscation of auto-doors and snapping of the internet in some parts of the valley, have come after the target killings of civilians in the past weeks. The region has been under high-alert.

Ahead of Amit Shah’s visit, there has been heavy patrolling in several markets of Srinagar city. The IGP, however, has denied that the increase in deployement has anything to do with Shah’s visit. [FPK Photo/Zainab]

Reports say that the reason for seizing can also be tied to the visit of Union Home Minister of India, Amit Shah. However, Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar in a statement has said that the seizure of bikes and snapping of internet service in some parts has nothing to do with the upcoming visit of Shah.

Several bikers told Free Press Kashmir that the police have asked them to collect their vehicles after October 26.

Mass seizing of bikes had also affected local trade. Businesses dealing with home delivery of products and services, have been rendered defunct.

An armed forces personnel seraches a passenger taxi at Srinagar’s Lal Chowk. [FPK Photo/Zainab]

Gatoes, a startup organisation that deals with the delivery of food products said that over the past three days, business has severely been affected and their service has been suspended.

By Mohsina Mali | Free Press Kashmir