Flood victims, mostly Kashmiri Pandit families, living within earshot of Gupkar await rehabilitation

Flood victims, mostly Kashmiri Pandit families, living within earshot of Gupkar await rehabilitation

Families putting up at Durga Nag Temple complex say only Hurriyat and JKLF visited them

Wasim Khalid

Srinagar: As far as geography is concerned, Durga Nag Temple complex is the closest you can get to easily attract the attention of the ruling class, which lives at a stone’s throw away in fortified residences on Gupkar Road. But even if you get that close, it is no guarantee that they will notice you, as many Kashmiri Pandit and Sikh families have painfully realised.
Scores of Kashmir Pandit and Sikh families had taken shelter at Durga Nag Temple complex at Sonwar in the wake of the devastating floods in September last year. The families say no politician from either the ruling PDP or ousted National Conference paid them a visit to inquire about their plight.
“The only people who have visited us in this temple and brought some relief items along are Hurriyat and JKLF leaders,” said SK Ganjoo.
“Politics aside, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq came here many times. But not a single politician from NC and PDP visited us to see in what conditions we are living. The separatists empathized with us. Maybe they know the meaning of loss. We are homeless,” he said.
Ganjoo, who did not leave the Valley, had a house in highly-secured area of Shivpora, but floods have rendered it beyond repair.
“My wife and daughter are living with me in this temple. My son is working outside the state. I went to government officials including deputy commissioner for compensation but I have not received a single penny yet,” Ganjoo said.
He said that if the condition of flood victims living close to Gupkar is so pathetic, then what would “be the plight of the people living in remote areas of Kashmir”.
“We have only heard claims from the government that they are rehabilitating the victims. Only God knows who they have rehabilitated,” Ganjoo added.
Another flood victim, Rajendra Koul, who also lives in the temple complex, echoed the same grievance.
“We are homeless and the government is not bothered about us. Maybe we are not so important,” Kaul said.
Opendari Wali, an administrative officer of Durga Nag Mandir, said more than 3000 families, nearly all of them from Shivpora, Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar and surrounding localities, had taken refuge in the temple after the floods. Currently, only 30 families, two of them Muslim, remain.
Wali said the temple authorities approached the chief minister’s and chief secretary’s offices, but nothing was done to rehabilitate them.
Deputy commissioner Srinagar Farooq Lone said there are might be “a few families which have not received the compensation”.
“We have paid Rs 75,000 each to the victims whose houses were completely damaged from to State Disaster Fund. Such families will get additional Rs 1 lakh from Prime Minister’s fund,” he said.
The government had estimated that losses due to floods were up to Rs 1 lakh crore. It had stated that 45,594 houses had been damaged by the flood that claimed 280 lives.