Apple economy latest casualty in strife-torn Kashmir

​A silent war on stomachs

​A silent war on stomachs

Pointing to a heap of rotten apples thrown into a pit in Wuyan, a small village 37 miles east of Srinagar, apple farmer Mohammad Shafi says, ``That's almost $1,200 worth of produce. It's all a waste now,''
Apple growers were expecting a bumper crop this year. Now, they say, losses are in the millions of dollars and the business might suffer its worst year since the beginning of the insurgency that has resulted in almost 70,000 deaths.

​Ghosts from the past

​Ghosts from the past

In August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist-led government stripped Kashmir of its semi-autonomous status and imposed a strict crackdown, sending in tens of thousands more troops, detaining thousands of people and blocking mobile phones and internet services.

More than two months later, the region remains under a communications blockade. Authorities have restored landline services and some cellphones, but not internet, making it difficult to reach traders outside the region to conduct business.
``It all started in August. We haven't recovered since,'' Shafi said.

​Killings reported from the valley

​Killings reported from the valley

On Wednesday, police said suspected militants shot dead an apple trader and injured another in a late-night attack in southern Shopian. The same day, a migrant laborer who worked at a brick kiln was also shot dead, police said.

That followed the arrests Tuesday of two militants suspected of shooting dead a truck driver near an apple orchard where he had collected 800 boxes of fruit.On Sept. 6, unknown gunmen fired at a fruit trader in northern Sopore, injuring him and four members of his family.
So, the orchards lie empty of harvesters, as overripe fruit ripens and thuds to the ground.

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