Business at Srinagar incurs losses due to encounter

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Srinagar, Jan 8 (ANI): Although the violent encounter at Lal Chowk in Srinagar has ended, but for some who have their business establishments in the area, the nightmare is far from over.

A two-day gun battle between security forces and separatist militants ended on Thursday.

As soon as shopkeepers opened their establishments on Friday they were shocked to see the devastation in their shops.

The shops and hotels in which the militants took shelter have been totally damaged by the gunfight and grenade explosions.

Hotel Punjab, which used to be a five-storey hotel, is now in shambles, with the owner claiming damage of millions of rupees. The militants were holed up inside Hotel Punjab.

Punjab Hotel's owner Mohammad Shafi said: "We have suffered a lot of losses in the two-day gun battle. All the rooms in the hotel have been destroyed and the water, which the fire brigade was directing, has destroyed everything inside the hotel,"

"We hope that the government would help us in re-establishing our business," he added.

Shopkeepers say that despite such a major attack no official has visited the site so far.

"All the shops have borne the brunt of the attack. We do not have any alternative and till now, no official or politician has come here to ask us how we are doing," said Noor Qazi, a shopkeeper.

Fire tenders were deployed to clear the shops and lanes off the rumbles.

Meanwhile, normal life was seen limping back to normalcy as shops and offices resumed work on Friday.

On Wednesday, armed militants had forced their way into the five-storey hotel killing a policeman, in one of the biggest attacks in two years in Srinagar. Another man succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

The two militants were shot dead by the security forces.

Jamait-ul-Mujahideen, claimed responsibility for the attack and vowed to inflict heavy damage on security forces.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah complimented the security personnel for the successful operation. (ANI)

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