With the onset of harsh winter in Kashmir, darkness and depression comes knocking the doors of the people. This winter has already ringed such bells with bag full of problems ranging from cash crunch to Kangiris to Pava grenades. In the evenings with complete darkness the chilly-filled grenades force people to inhale the poisonous gas with incessant tears and cough. Winters have been harsh in Kashmir as a routine, but the winter of 2017 has its own ‘specialties’ for the people of Kashmir who have been left here to bear them. There would be no winter secretariat this time as chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, has decided to get rid of this cosmetic practice in Kashmir valley – it was more symbolic for the ministers to attend winter secretariat and address none of the problems faced by the common people. Such exercises can be withdrawn only in Kashmir with the leaders showing full commitment to continue the Dogra rule practice of taking durbar to Jammu. This has been the practice despite all political parties of Jammu and Kashmir State admitting that it is not financially viable for the government to continue such practice. No winter secretariat in Kashmir, but for the people of Jammu the entire government machinery has moved for six months in what appears to be a pure exercise of appeasement. By the way no one shows any concern for people of Ladakh region as they have neither winter nor summer secretariat for the redressal of their grievances. Coming back to the valley of darkness, PDD has a big excuse of dry spell of four months to justify their unscheduled cuts in the power supply. Over and above they have already published load-shedding schedule for the people of Kashmir in this bone chilling winter. In many rural pockets the problems of winter have been compounded by the fact that power transformers have been damaged by the action of security forces. This time government forces have devised a novel method of “teaching locals a lesson” by first damaging their electric transformer before going for nocturnal raids. According to the official data more than 300 electric transformers were damaged in Kashmir during police and security operations. With virtually no trace of the government in many villages, people are said to have locally collected the funds and got their transformers repaired. But with the cash crunch created by both continued unrest and demonetization, many villages are not in a position to fix their transformers with their own money. The weekend relaxations given by the separatist leadership of Kashmir in their continued protest calendars bring the entire population on the streets. They (people) mostly buy things like blankets, electric blankets, Kangris, charcoal etc. to survive the harsh winter.
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