Devastated: Families groping in dark to put life back on track

Pulwama/Shopian: The faceoff between security forces and militants is proving dearly for the people whose property gets damaged in encounters that follow. In the twin districts of Shopian and Pulwama at least six houses and three cowsheds were razed to ground during the two such encounters in past one week.

The families whose property got damaged say that not only has their property been lost but they have been left homeless and fend for their families during these wintry months.

The night long encounter at Samboora village of Pulwama in which Noor-Muhammad Trali a militant commander of Jaish-e-Muhammad militant outfit was killed has been razed down by the forces with the use of IED’s and mortar shells.

The devastated house has left a six member family of Abdul Aziz Dar homeless, besides two others Manzoor Ahmad  Shakhsaz and Abdul Rashid Dar, whose houses also suffered partial damages.

Ali Muhammad Sheikh, resident of Batmaran-Wanpora whose house was damaged during the encounter in his village on 19th of this month said that he has no land or business through which he can pull together resources to rebuild his house.

“We are six family members and I used to work tirelessly to make the two ends meet. My entire property, the house and a two wheeler were the only assets I had which has got damaged now,” rues Sheikh.

Muhammad Yaqoob Bhat (55), a government employee whose two storey house was damaged during the encounter in which two slain militants were hiding said that he too lost everything in the aftermath of an encounter.

“Our house, cowshed with two cows and whatever household goods I had are gone now,” he claimed.

Yaqoob is presently putting up at his in-laws house who live some 200 meters away from the place where his house was located.

Two more families from Sheikh community said that they have no land or business to regenerate any resources.

Ghulam Ahmad Sheikh, whose single storey house was also damaged in the Batamaran encounter said that despite the fact that militants were not hiding in his house the encounter left it totally devastated.

“I had constructed this house some three years ago and now I have no place to go where my family can stay put,” he says.

Abdul Ahad Bhat, another resident who has to support his ten members family and whose house was also damaged, has the same story to narrate.

Numberdar, Batmaran-Wanpora, Nazir Ahmad Bhat said that the families have been left with nothing to survive on.

Notably, the encounters are taking a heavy toll on the common masses in various parts of south Kashmir.

Earlier on July 4, this year of five residential houses were razed down at Bamnoo village of Pulwama in which three militants who were holed up inside these houses were killed.  The families who lost their houses are still putting up with their neighbors or relatives. 

Noori Begum is one such woman who lost her house. A widow, Noori says that financial constraints have forced her not to start any construction work.

“Our life is scattered in pieces and we are yet to able to put back those pieces and start life afresh,” she says.

Deputy commissioner Shopian Aijaz Asad, when contacted said that the administration is planning some compensation for these families.  said that they were preparing the cases of the families who’s houses were damaged in the encounter.

“Our revenue officials are in contact with the 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 the relief department.

” We have written to police department for involvement and non involvement report and we are waiting for their reply as well,” he said.

Deputy commissioner Pulwama, Ghulam Muhammad Dar said that two days ago he has disbursed the relief among the families of Bamnoo encounter after completing all formalities.

“I don’t know the exact amount but it was based after ascertaining various guidelines and police reports,” he said.

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