House sealed by police in ‘12, Sopori’s family remain homeless

SRINAGAR: Family of veteran pro-freedom fighter and chairman Jammu and Kashmir People’s League, Ghulam Muhammad Khan Sopori, are living a homeless life for the past two years.
On June 30, 2012, the police sealed the house of Sopori at Chanapora here, alleging that it was raised from hawala money.
“The police asked us to vacate the house. When we demanded reasons, they said they had orders from higher authorities to leave Sopori and his family under the open sky,” Sajjad Khan, son of Sopori, told Kashmir Reader.
The family members who since then have been putting up with their relatives in their native town Sopore, however, out rightly reject the charges against them.
“My mother sold her jewelry worth Rs 1, 75,000 with which we purchased this piece of land (3 marlas) in 1997. Then we constructed a single storey house on the land while my father was languishing in jail. There is no question of hawala money,” said Sajjad.
Sopori, who is associated with Syed Ali Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference, has been pursuing pro-freedom politics for more than four decades now and has been arrested for more than a decade at different times. The family says the confiscation of their house was “akin to the policy of Israel which India is implementing in Kashmir.”
“By sealing our property they want to browbeat us into submission. In the past, our four shops were burnt down in Sopore, besides regular harassment and raids,” said Sajjad.
Shortly after their house was sealed, the Soporis had filed an appeal with High Court in August 2012. However, neither the state nor police has responded to the court direction till date, according to the family.
“We have had 11 hearings in the court so far, but the police has failed to substantiate its charges against us,” the Soporis said.
They also criticized the silence of various pro-freedom leaders and human rights organizations over their plight.
“We were hoping there will be reaction from leaders who on daily basis issue statements regarding human rights violations. Nobody has come forward to help us,” they added.