Srinagar, September 20 (KMS): In what locals believe a deliberate attempt by the Modi regime to further weaken the Kashmiris economically, Bangladeshi apple traders are discouraged through various tactics to continue the fruit business in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Fed up with this unfriendly attitude of the BJP-ruled India, the Bangladeshi fruit traders have threatened with ceasing the business operation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir due to the unnecessary halting of fruit-laden vehicles on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.

While speaking to the media in Srinagar, these fruit purchasers expressed regret that for the past 15 days, they have suffered significant losses due to the unnecessary halt of fruit-laden trucks and that the Modi regime has done nothing to address their concerns.

They complained that before, fruit-laden trucks would arrive in Bangladesh in 6-7 days, but now due to the unnecessary stoppage of fruit-laden trucks, trucks arrive in Bangladesh in 15 days.

“It not only hurts business for growers in Kashmir, but we are also incurring big losses; if the situation continues, we will quit trading here,” they warned.

Bangladesh has become one of the specialty markets for Kashmir apples throughout the years. Local traders are focusing on Bangladesh since the returns are higher. “Bangladeshi dealers provide better prices for Kashmir apples. Hundreds of traders trade with Bangladeshis,” said Mushtaq Ahmad Butt, an apple trader.

“We ship thousands of boxes of apples mostly American variety from Asia’s Fruit Mandi to Bangladesh fruit markets daily. As Kashmiri apples have no match in the world. In Bangladesh, we have a huge demand for Kashmir apples,” Roufud Din, one of the fruit buyers from Bangladesh, said.

Mudasir Ahmad Bhat, President of the Fruit Buyers and Forwarding Agents Association in Sopore, is highly concerned about the closure of the fruit trade in Kashmir by Bangladeshi traders. He said that 20 per cent of the total apple crop from north Kashmir is exported to Bangladesh each year.

Meanwhile, Hurriyat AJK leader Qazi Imran in a statement in Islamabad denounced the Indian Army for harassing transporters and traders traveling on Srinagar-Jammu highway and historical Mughal road connecting the Pir Panjal region of Jammu and Kashmir with the Kashmir valley.

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