Kashmir Leader Opts To Shiver With The Masses

Kashmir Leader Opts To Shiver With The Masses

9 January 2012
AFP


Srinagar: The chief minister of Indian Kashmir has ordered power to be cut to VIPs in the region after blackouts left locals shivering amid snow storms and sub-zero temperatures, officials said. Omar Abdullah ordered officials from the power department to snap electricity supplies to his high-security residence in the main city of Srinagar and other homes in the exclusive Gupkar Road area. The power will remain off 'until the supply to the entire (Kashmir) valley is restored,' a statement from the state government said in Srinagar after heavy weekend snow falls toppled power transmission poles and lines. Abdullah's administration has faced frequent protests over the last 15 days against the power cuts, which were initially the result of disruption caused by temperatures as low as minus 14 degrees Celsius (seven degrees Fahrenheit) at local hydroelectric plants. Last Monday, security forces antagonised angry locals further by opening fire at a a demonstration near a hydroelectric plant in northern Boniyar village. A student was killed. 'We have been without power and water for the last three days now,' Abdul Rashid, 52 from Shopian in southern Kashmir, told AFP. Rashid, who owns apple orchards, said his family had been keeping warm by burning charcoal. 'We have been melting snow to obtain water for drinking as the taps have frozen in our village,' he said, adding that the roads were blocked by thick snow. The heavy snowfall has left the main highway connecting the Kashmir valley with rest of India closed since Saturday.