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Police not letting south Kashmir family rebuild house that was blasted during encounter

Saturday, November 11, 2017

It has been several months now that a family of 12 is living under a tin shed, their large house blasted to rubble by Indian forces during an encounter with militant commander Bashir Lashkari, who was killed along with two associates while fighting from within the house. The family had told media that army and police were not letting them reconstruct the destroyed house. Several weeks later, they are still saying the same.

Bashir Ahmad, owner of the destroyed house in Brinti village of south Kashmir’s Islamabad district, were quoted by Srinagar-based English dialy Kashmir Reader as having said over phone that he started work on rebuilding the house this week to create some protection against the coming winter, but no sooner than the work began that policemen arrived and had it stopped.

“On Tuesday the work was going on and everything was going fine. Suddenly a few men in civvies came in a car. They claimed to be policemen and said that the work has to be stopped,” Bashir said.

The policemen snatched the instruments of the labourers and asked them to leave the work site, Bashir said.

Ulfat Jan, daughter of Bashir, told Reader, “The next day, on Wednesday, we again started the work. At 11am, when it was time for tea, three policemen clad in pherans came and told us to stop the work. We asked them the reason, to which a policeman said that “sahab” has told them to have the work stopped.”

Ulfat added that the policemen took her and two relatives to the police post at Damhal. “We were kept at the police post for two hours. At 1pm we were released, after some elders visited the police station,” she said.

“They were asking us to either hand over our lone brother Khursheed Ahmad to them or else be detained at the police station,” Ulfat said.

Villagers in Brenti and the local Auqaf committee had collected Rs 4 lakh to help the family rebuild their house, but the army and police allegedly did not allow the reconstruction work to take place. “We are being forced to accommodate our big family in a makeshift tin shed even in these chilling winter days,” Bashir Ahmad said.

“We are facing a lot of hardship here. We do not even have space to sleep. Our children and daughters are not able to sleep in the chilling cold,” Bashir said.

“I have a big family, with at least 12 family members. Among them are seven daughters and granddaughters, two sons, and my wife. All the domestic activities have to be done within the tin shed. From kitchen to bedroom, we have only this space,” Bashir rued.

“We are crunched in a small space like a flock of sheep. We are completely fed up of living like this,” he said.

Source: Kashmir Reader