Christmas cheer gives way to concerns over nationwide violence, net crackdown
Lucknow, Dec 22 (IANS): With Christmas around, there seems to be no cheer in the air. Gloom weighs down heavy with the fog and smog, the chill in the air and the violence around.
The violence that rocked across Uttar Pradesh and left Lucknow ripped apart has snatched away the festive mood. The shutdown of internet services in many places has left people almost paralysed in the digital age.
"Since most markets remain closed, I cannot even order groceries online because of the internet shutdown. I have guests for Christmas and my maid, who lives in old city area, has not been coming to work since Thursday. There is no question of ordering food online," said Malini D'Souza , a school teacher.
Most petrol pumps in the state capital were not accepting card payment due to net shutdown and several ATMs were not in working condition either.
App-based cabs have also gone off the roads due to net shutdown and food delivery apps have also been badly hit.
Shopping malls and markets wear a deserted look despite the decorations for Christmas and New Year.
"People are just not coming out to shop and splurge. They are short of cash and the online banking system is not working. Today is the third day of internet shutdown and we do not know how long it will continue," said a shop owner in a plush mall.
The bakery business which thrives in December has been the worst hit.
"Majority of the bakers and confectioners are Muslims who live in the old city area. They have not been coming to work since Thursday and we do not know what to do with the orders. We are trying to inform customers of our inability to deliver on time," said Sahil Khanna of Rainbow Bakers.
The movie business which usually thrives in the holiday season has also taken the worst beating.
Salman Khan's blockbuster Dabbangg 3 got an unexpectedly poor opening in Lucknow. A leading multiplex, on Saturday, had just five persons in the morning show.