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2016-02-02 05:53:40

Kashmir: 2 Dal dwellers self-immolate against LAWDA’s demolition drive

At least two residents- one among them a teenager, were injured in self-immolation act during protests against Lakes and Waterways Development Authority’s (LAWDA) demolition drive in summer capital Srinagar.
Encumbering the demolition drive for the second time, residents of Ashia Bagh, Saidakadal Monday protested against LAWDA.  The Jammu and Kashmir Police baton-charged the protestors and shot teargas smoke in the air.
The residents attempted self immolation. They were taken to Sher-i- Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Hospital, Soura for treatment.
According to LAWDA officials, it has been directed by the High Court to demolish every construction within 200 meters of Dal Lake. The authority had already failed to execute the court directions on 28th Jan, last week.  In its second attempt, LAWDA again faced public fury.
The locals including Children, young / elderly men and women gathered at 9 in the morning and demonstrated their ‘grief’ by displaying posters against the authorities and raising slogans against LAWDA and its concerned officials.
Rising Kashmir observed that the police could not clear the road as the agitated people lay down on the road. A couple of young men and children tried to burn themselves. However the police rescued them and took them to Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial Hospital, Rainawari.
“The crowd was huge. We had to Lathi charge them and use teargas smoke.  About 2 boys attempted self immolation but we rescued them. From Rainawari, they were them taken to SKIMS hospital,” said a police official.
The concerned locals quite adamantly said that they ‘have and will’ continue to protest till their demands are not met by the authorities.
Nisar Sultan who has been living in the area from past 5 years denied all allegations against the residents and said that nobody is constructing anything, but repairing flood affected structures. He told Rising Kashmir that the residents have three main demands.
“We want proper drainage system in the area. Allow us to repair our flood affected houses. Let us stay here as it is our heritage. We don’t want to move away from the Hazratbal Shrine,” said Nisar.
The residents believe that ‘LAWDA is trying to shift them so that some bureaucrats can use the area.’
“Why are constructions like Mamta Hotel and GD Goenka Public School allowed then. Aren’t those illegal? They run their business and we LIVE here. Why are they not considering that?” asked another resident. 
The locals also alleged that the already rehabilitated people are facing problems in the areas like Bemina.
“By shifting us from Saidakadal, LAWDA is taking us 100 years back. The areas like Bemina aren’t stable. They are flood prone. You can check that the land is still damp there,” said Shahnawaz, a local.
Here, we are near to hospitals and University. This is injustice to us,” he added.
However, the LAWDA officials continue to quote the High Court. When asked about its further plan on the issue, Suhail Reshi, Chief Enforcement Officer, LAWDA told Rising Kashmir that the authorities are following court orders and nothing else.
“The residents can go to the concerned authorities. We cannot undo the court orders. As far as the Goenka School is concerned, it has proper construction permission. We will not only clear this area but also other areas where it would be needed,” said Suhail.
“Since today we had law and order situation, we could not do it. We are waiting for LAWDA’s weekly bench (for a PIL (Public interest litigation) case) at the court. We will arrange the security and once it’s done, the court will issue new dates for demolition. We will work accordingly,” he added.
Categories:   In Brief ، Other News ، From Kashmir ،
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