Batmarran (Shopian): A gunfight at Batmarran Wanpora village last week has left five families homeless in chilling winters.
At least five residential houses and three cowsheds were razed to ground by government forces on Dec 19 at the village during a gunfight in which two militants and a local woman was also killed. Not a single thing was retrieved from these five houses, local residents said.
Two other houses were partially damaged.
Ali Muhammad Sheikh, one of the residents whose house was destroyed in the incident says he has no means to rebuild his house.
Sheikh is putting up with his family of six in a one-room shed provided by a relative in the village.
“I used to make two ends meet by making wooden viewing panes and polishing and repairing shoes of people,” Ali Muhummad said.
“The only asset I had managed in all these years was a pulsar bike which was also gutted during the encounter. Not a single thing in my house was retrieved.”
Two more families from the poor Khakrob community who lost their houses also said they have no land or business to rebuild their house.
Ghulam Ahmad Sheikh rued that his house was destroyed, despite the fact that militants were not hiding there.
“I had constructed this house three years back. Where should I go now with my eight member family,” asks Ghulam Ahmad. “It is not easy to spend these months of chilling cold at a relative’s place, who themselves are not sound to bear our expenses,” he added.
Abdul Ahad Bhat, another resident is also putting up at his relative’s place along with his family of ten.
He said that the earnings of his life have turned into ashes.
“I was earning my livelihood by selling meat in the village. I have only four Kanals of land for meeting two ends of my 10 member family,” he said.
Muhammad Yaqoob Bhat, whose two story house was the primary target, is living with his in-laws in the village.
“I lost everything in this encounter, house, cowshed with two cows and what I had earned till date,” he said.
Muhammad Subhan, a villager said that the monetary help provided by the people who visited the village after the gunfight was not even enough to bear the immediate expenses.
“The damages are too high,” he said.
Nazir Ahmad Bhat, Numberdar of Batmaran-Wanpora, said that the families were left with nothing.
“We collected little bit of money but that is not enough to meet the winter needs. I will accompany these households to meet deputy commissioner for immediate relief at least for winters,” Nazir said.
The destruction of houses leaves families, helpless and vulnerable for a long time.
In July five two-storey residential houses were razed at Bamnoo village of Pulwama during a gunfight between the militants and government forces.
Three of these families are still living at neighbours’ and relatives’ houses while two families have shifted to Pulwama town where they have their own houses.
Noori Begum, a widow said she was not able to reconstruct her house due to the lack of money, while the villagers said that they were impoverished with no means to help them rebuilt their houses.
Deputy Commissioner Shopian Aijaz Asad told Kashmir Reader that they were preparing the cases of the families whose houses were damaged in the encounter.
“Our revenue officials are in contact with families and if they (families) need any immediate relief they can write an application to us and we will provide them relief,” he said.
He added that they were preparing the cases as per guidelines of disaster and management and norms of relief department.
“We have written to police department for involvement and non involvement report and we are waiting for their reply,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Ghulam Muhammad Dar told Kashmir Reader that he disbursed the relief among the families of Bamnoo encounter two days back.
“I don’t know the exact amount but it was based after completing different guidelines and police reports,” he said.