SRI NAGAR: On a cold morning, BJP’s Muslim face and Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi wearing a Karakuli cap, a muffler and long woollen coat took everybody by surprise when he visited Lal Chowk and interacted with roadside vendors and shopkeepers on Wednesday amid a large security presence.
It was the first visit by any Union minister to Srinagar after the Centre revoked Article 370 and bifurcated J&K state into two Union Territories on August 5 last year.
Lal Chowk, which is the hub of business activities in the Valley, had been closed for nearly three months owing to spontaneous shutdown. The historic Ghanta Ghar was sealed by authorities on August 5.
The restrictions were lifted only after a couple of months.
Naqvi interacted with the roadside vendors at Makkah Market in Lal Chowk area and asked them what were their grievances and issues.
They apprised him of their issues, which included their rehabilitation by providing shops at a specific area and also demanded adequate parking space in city centre.
Naqvi also spoke to some shopkeepers in Lal Chowk area during which they expressed their displeasure over no parking space in the area in view of the high court order banning parking of vehicles on roads in Lal Chowk and adjoining areas.
The Union Minister directed Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Shahid Choudhary to look into the issues of the shopkeepers and vendors and resolve them at the earliest. He assured the traders that all their genuine demands will be addressed at the earliest.
“We are here to go to the people and spread this positivity among other people too by communicating with them,” Naqvi told reporters later, adding that there is a positive atmosphere in Kashmir.