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EXCLUSIVE: Amid Indian Currency Mayhem, Kashmir Still Banks Upon Old Currency Notes

At this point of time when the people of India are grappling to get their high denomination currency, Kashmir is still using the old currency notes.

A shop in Kashmir. (Representational image) Pixabay

Srinagar, November 12, 2016: At this point of time when the people of India are grappling to get their high denomination currency exchanged in the banks by standing in long queues for hours at stretch, Kashmir is still using the old currency notes.

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Unlike the rest of the country, people of Kashmir were already banking upon their limited cash due to the unrest of more than 100 days. So, a small group of shopkeepers in Kashmir has come forward to help the people having a limited cash by accepting old currency notes of Rs500 and Rs1000 in exchange of the goods they need.

Due to the unrest, the banks open for a limited period of time, that is only for a few hours. For which, exchanging of money isn’t going quite smooth for the people of the valley.

A shopkeeper, Ali Mohammad who sells essential commodities in Sehri Khas, Srinagar, says, “By December, I would certainly not have more than 2.5 lakh cash in hand, so if a few people are handing over notes of Rs 500 or Rs 1000 it won’t really affect me as such. If at all my amount of cash reaches 2 lakh, I’ll go and deposit it.”

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He further added, “It doesn’t matter whether I deposit the money or the person himself does it. Rather, it is better if I do it because it will be some help to those who are out of cash.”

Shopkeepers are also providing assistance in general, to help out poor rural people those who don’t have a bank account. They are accepting and exchanging the old currency notes for them.

Plastic money or e-money is not even an option for the people of Kashmir, as the internet too have suffered a lot due the unrest and is not in proper working conditions.

An organization of trade bodies, Kashmir Economic Alliance’s Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Khan said, “We have already suffered in the uprising of more than 120 days, who so ever is accepting the old currency notes, it is their own choice and for the sake of humanity. There is no compulsion from the trade bodies on them.”

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He further added, “In view of the circumstances of Kashmir, some special concession should be given by the government to deposit the money as the banks remain open hardly for a few hours in a day.”

– by Pinaz Kazi of NewsGram with inputs from Irfan Rashid. Twitter: @PinazKazi

  • Ruchika Kumari

    Shopkeepers are doing so only for the sake of humanity…..ok its fine…but we have to respect the decision of our PM

  • Diksha Arya

    Great work by the shopkeepers….

Next Story

Post-Pulwama, Kashmir Helpline Gets Over 500 Calls

About the challenges Ladakh faces after a Pulwama-type attack, he said its economy suffers since it is almost fully dependent on tourism

Pulwama, JeM, Terror, Kashmir
The Indian Army said that all the top leadership of the JeM outfit have been eliminated by security forces in the Kashmir Valley within 100 hours of the terror attack. Pixabay

With nationalist sentiments on a high after the suicide attack that left 40 CRPF troopers dead, it is the Kashmiris around the country who have felt the heat. Post-February 14 Pulwama attack, a helpline for students from the state in the NCR area received over 500 calls — more than 25 calls a day.

Vidushi Kapoor, Jammu and Kashmir’s Liaison Officer in-charge of Delhi-NCR area, told IANS that although no major incident was reported, she received around 500-600 calls, especially from Dehradun, from Kashmiri students saying that they are “feeling insecure”.

“Police and college authorities were very helpful. Full security and support was provided to the students at all times,” she said. However, the charged-up environment and reports from other areas has prompted many Kashmiri students to return home, she added.

“The environment has cooled down now, but two weeks were quite upsetting… the students were really scared.”

Kapoor is one of the seven Liaison Officers appointed around the country by the state government in November 2018 for support of students from the state. After the attack, their contacts were published in newspapers and social media to enable students to contact them.

More worryingly, the situation also shows that the rift between the state’s three major regions – Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh – extends to influence the perception of their people around India.Kapoor noted that the helpline had not got a single call from any students from the Jammu region.

Meanwhile, it is those from the Kashmir Valley who are squeezed between the terror outfits and the security forces.

Noting how all this takes a mental toll on its residents, Mehr (name changed), a 21-year-old living in the Kashmir Valley, said: “We are in repressive conditions. Being surrounded by security men is normal for us…livelihood, schools being suspended is normal.”

About the Pulwama attack, she said: “Violence wouldn’t solve the issue. The attack was not a good thing” but noted that people joined militancy because of “excesses”.

Taniya Tikoo, a Kashmiri Pandit living in Delhi, said it is best for both India and Pakistan if Kashmiris are allowed to have a dialogue among themselves. “It will be a win-win situation for everyone,” she said.

IOC, olympic, tokyo games, india, pakistan
FILE – Indian paramilitary soldiers stand by the wreckage of a bus after an explosion in Pampore, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

People from Jammu region have a different take.

Citing the recent grenade attack in Jammu bus stand, Delhi University student Saloni, who hails from Kathua, said, “A lot of violence has shifted to Jammu (region).”

She demanded greater linkage between the state and India. “India has been investing so much… we should be integrated with the rest of the country and Articles 370, 35A (of the Constitution) should be scrapped – they have done no good so far.”

Hitu, another girl from Jammu region studying in Delhi, however, said whenever any violence takes place in Kashmir, it affects everyone including “our schools, banks, highways also close”.

She also said that people from Jammu and Ladakh region “have a general feeling of being ignored by the leaders”.

Jigmat Paljor, President of the Ladakh Student Welfare Society in Delhi, is in agreement with his Jammu counterparts – but to a point.

Paljor told IANS how his people feel alienated because with all focus on Kashmir, issues of Ladakh, which is the state’s biggest region but sparsely populated, get overlooked.

Also Read- Women of Pakistan Protest Against Workplace Harassment, Child Marriage

About the challenges Ladakh faces after a Pulwama-type attack, he said its economy suffers since it is almost fully dependent on tourism.

“And since Ladakh has a border with both Pakistan and China, there is always fear of tensions escalating….”

While Paljor maintains Kashmir is an integral part of the country, he wants Articles 370 and 35A to stay as his region “is very fragile and susceptible in terms of economy, culture, language, environment, from outside influence”. (IANS)