ANANTNAG: The administration here in Pampore town of Pulwama district has failed to retrieve graveyard land from a family of squatters for the past twenty years now, even though the civil society of the town has been actively seeking action by officials of the revenue department.
The land, part of a local graveyard in Kadlabal area of Pampore town, is located right behind the local police station. Locals that Kashmir Reader talked to said that in early 2000s, a man, Muhammad Sheikh, from Beerwah area of Budgam district came and built a small hut in the premises of the graveyard.
“He was a self-proclaimed godman. The locals did not waste any time in reporting the illegal construction to the authorities,” a local, Abdul Ahad, said. He said that the matter was pursued with the local administration back then and the people were assured immediate action.
And action was even taken. “His hut was demolished a few years after he had made it, by the then Tehsildar, Sheikh Muneer Ahmad, in presence of police and municipal officials,” Abdul Rasheed, another local, said.
He said that Muhammad Sheikh built a new hut, however, soon after Tehsildar Muneer was transferred from Pampore. “Since then, his children have grown up, been married, and now the hutments have also grown in number. They have further encroached upon the graveyard land,” Rasheed said, adding that the locals have not given up hope, though.
“We had pursued the case with an advisor to a former Chief Minister, the Divisional Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners of Pulwama district, DIG South Kashmir, SSP Awantipora and the local administration,” a group of locals said.