Article 370: Houseboat Business in Srinagar at a Standstill

The Quint visited Dal Lake to speak to shikarawalas to understand the state of their business post Article 370.

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Tourism industry in the Valley has been suffering for a long time now. It was first hit by the Pulwama attack and now, by the government's decision to effectively revoke Article 370. The Quint visited the Dal Lake and spoke to shikarawalas (boatmen) to understand the ground reality.

“Because of the Pulwama attack we already lost 2-3 months of the business. The Yatra was going on for a month now, they drove them out as well. They were told that there could be a terror attack. Has any tourist ever been troubled by anyone here? We were earning Rs 500-1,000. Everything is clear now, everything is before you.” This is what Hanif, a shikarawala, had to say about business in the last few days.

Business Halts to a Standstill

“This was the season, this was our time to earn.We could earn Rs 1,500-2,000 in a day. But there are no tourists. We just eat and sleep, wake up in the evening and again eat and sleep. Everything has come to a standstill.”  
Ghulam, Shikarawala
“Central government took a wrong decision by messing with Article 370. This was very wrong. All the tourists fled this place. Modi called everyone back (from Kashmir): tourists, yatris, students, everyone... Kashmir has been vacated. He kept us in curfew and suspended phone services and TV. There is no electricity.”
Ghulam, Shikarawala

As shikaras bob vacant, and silence resounds the Dal Lake, shikarawalas are left to navigate current unemployment. The question is: Will tourists return to this paradise? Will Kashmir prosper again?

(This was originally published on Quint Hindi)

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