Rendered Homeless In Homeland

27 March 2009
Rising Kashmir

Islamabad: Since the outbreak of armed uprising in the conflict ridden State, the troops have occupied hotels, cinema theatres, abandoned houses of Kashmiri Pandits, orchards and in some cases educational institutions turning Kashmir valley into a garrison. In some cases, they haven’t even spared the residential houses. In South Kashmir’s Islamabad town, a poor vendors’ house continues to be under the occupation of troops rendering the family homeless in its own home land. Located adjacent to ‘Good Eve’ hotel at KP Road, the house, according to family members, was forcibly occupied by the paramilitary CRPF personal in 1992 forcing the family to put up in two rented rooms at Nai basti area of the town. Narrating the ordeal of how the CRPF personal forced his family vacate the house before occupying it, Ghulam Nabi Malik, the house owner said, “ In early nineties when 3rd Battalion CRPF established a camp in Good Eve hotel adjacent to my house, they started asking me to vacate the house which I refused every time.” “Then one day in June 1992, they asked me to leave the house for a night saying they had information of militants planning an attack on the Good Eve hotel where they were camped. I along with my other family members left the house on their advice and went to one of our relatives’ house who is residing in a nearby locality for a night’s stay. In the morning when it was confirmed that no attack has been carried out by the militants on the camp, we suspected a conspiracy, and decided to go back to our home only to find the house occupied by the CRPF personal.” Recalling the moment when he and his family members saw their house occupied and a bunker erected on its terrace, Wani said, “On seeing the house occupied by the troopers all my family members fainted as they could not stand the sight of a bunker erected by the troopers on the house and concertina wire laid around it.” “I mustered courage to enter the house but the troopers did not allow me to enter my house and instead threatened me of dire consequences if I resisted anymore,” Wani said. Wani’s family comprising of his wife, three daughters and a son has been putting up in a two narrow and dark rented rooms at Nai Basti Khanabal since the occupation of their house in 1992. “Since the day, CRPF forcibly occupied our house, we have been putting up in two rented rooms for which I have to pay Rs 3000 per month as rent. The CRPF is not paying a single penny to me as rent for my seven roomed occupied house,” Wani said, adding, “I have been knocking the doors of all the ministers, and civil and police officers, but no one helped me get my house back or get the rent sanctioned in my favour.” Although in 2006, the then Tehsildar Islamabad, after going through the revenue records, forwarded the case to Additional deputy Commissioner recommending monthly rent of Rs 8000 in Wani’s favour, but the later slashed the rent to Rs 800, which the family refused to accept. Tehsildar in his recommendation letter, the copy of which is lying with Rising Kashmir, states that the market value of the one kanal and 12 marlas of land of the applicant is 14 lakhs so its monthly rent according to the present market rate amounts to Rs 8000. “How could I accept Rs 800 as monthly rent for my seven-roomed house with 1 kannal and 12 marlas of land,” Wani said. “I have been paying Rs 3000 for just two narrow dark rooms as monthly rent with just Rs 100 income a day,” he added. While showing a file of letters given to him by the ministers for the concerned officers, Wani said, “I fail to understand why troops don’t vacate my house. Why they have rendered my family homeless in their own homeland.” Wani’s wife Mubeena is more worried about her three daughters who according to her have crossed the “marriageable age.” “I am not worried about myself and my husband but about my daughters who are waiting to be married even after crossing the marriageable age. My husband earns Rs 100 to 150 a day by running a stall on the roadside. Out of this meager income of Rs 3000 to 4000, we have to pay Rs 3000 as rent alone,” she said. “Not only poverty but also being homeless hinders the marriage of my daughters. Nobody gets ready to marry my daughters when they come to know about our being homeless,” said Mubeena with tearful eyes, adding, “The troops should either vacate our house or pay the rent due to us so that I would be in a position to marry my daughters.” Mubeena wants the chief minister to intervene in the matter and get their house vacated by the CRPF “to save the lives of their daughters from getting ruined.” “If chief minister possesses the human heart then he should intervene personally to vacate the troops from our house or make them pay the rent due to us so that we are not forced to live the life of tenants in our homeland,” she said. When contacted PRO CRPF, Prabhakar Tripathi told Rising Kashmir, “There is not a single case of occupation of land, hotel or residential house by the CRPF where the rent is not being paid to the owners. We don’t directly provide the rent but give the occupational certificate to the police who later provide the rent to the owner whose land or house is under occupation”. “I think the person who has not received any rent so far for his occupied house may not be enjoying a good relation with police due to which he has been denied the rent,” he said, adding such parties should approach the concerned DIG for getting their grievances redressed.