The hoarding is decorated with pictures of at least two dozen gun-wielding militants and portraits, majority of them locals, although foreigners also find a place. “The plan to instal this board had been around for a long time. We have got it made for Rs 20,000. Now we want to instal it in the graveyard,” Fida Hussain, a resident of Chatpora Things only got worse following an encounter on 31 December in Gusso village in the same district, in which two militants, including a local, were killed. Since then,Pulwama has been observing a shutdown. The roads leading to Pulwama town are deserted. People walk in groups. In a sudden rage, a group of protesters arrives in the middle of road from nowhere, forcibly stopping vehicles. If the passengers inside try to reason, the young protesters break loose. Within minutes, the police arrives and clashes start. The strike has parlayed life and businesses, but the young boys of the area are adamant that the hoarding has to be installed. Till then, they say, the town will remain closed. “Everyday losses are in crores. The talks with the district administration have failed. The previous hoarding which was circulated on social networking sites has been changed. The new memorial board is not digital, instead a simple one with some verses of the Quran,” President of Traders Federation, Bashir Ahmad, told Despite the state government making requests to the Traders Federation to open shops and freeing the youths who were arrested in connection with stone-pelting incidents in last two weeks in the town, the shops have not opened. “In all this, people are suffering. We can’t allow putting up a memorial board in that place. The decision has to be taken by the state government,” Deputy-Commissioner of Police Pulwama, Niraj Kumar, said.
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