Destruction of houses by Indian forces in Batmarran Shopian leaves poor families homeless in winter

Srinagar, December 28, 2017: At least five residential houses and three cowsheds were razed to ground by Indian forces on Dec 19, 2017 at Batmarran Wanpora in Shopoian and has left five families homeless in chilling winters. During a crackdown operation and clashes in which two liberation activists were killed  and a local woman was also killed by Indian forces. 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 operation, 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 by Indian  forces at Bamnoo village of Pulwama during a crackdown operation and clashes with Mujahideen.
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.