Srinagar gunfight: As 21 families go homeless, Kashmiris call for donations to rebuild their houses
The local mosque at Kanimazar Nawa Kadal, where the gunfight took place, has also taken the responsibility of relief and reconstruction to mitigate the sufferings of these families
As 21 families went homeless after their houses were destroyed during a gunfight in downtown Srinagar on Tuesday, Kashmiris have appealed for helping the affected people.
While the administration is yet to announce relief to the families, the social media community, comprising locals and several non-resident Kashmiris, has already started online campaigns to raise donations for the reconstruction of their houses at the earliest.
The local mosque at Kanimazar Nawa Kadal, where the gunfight took place, has also taken the responsibility of relief and reconstruction to mitigate the sufferings of these families.
Abdul Raheem Dar, president of Intizamia Committee Majid Hanfia Kanimazar, said the losses have been pegged at around ₹12-15 crores, including the household belongings.
“It’s a chunk of land where 19 houses have either been completely damaged or become unliveable. Some 21 families that resided here are now homeless,” Dar said adding, “Not only the houses but all their valuables have been destroyed. Gold ornaments got melted due to the fire.”
The houses were damaged in the blaze that erupted after several blasts and exchange of fire between militants and security forces during a 12-hour encounter in Nawa Kadal area of Srinagar on Tuesday. Two militants were killed while three CRPF personnel and a policeman were injured during the encounter.
Srinagar deputy commissioner Shahid Choudhary said a team of district administration visited the place to assess the damages. “We will be reaching out to the affected people after getting the assessment report,” he said.
Dar said they have started collecting donations from people for the affected families, most of which are poor, to either reconstruct the houses or handover money to the families so that they could rebuild their homes. The account details have been shared on the social media.
Dar, however, claimed they were facing police harassment for installing a donation kiosk near the mosque. “Though we take proper precautions, people come from different places to take a stock of the damage. We have been maintaining social distancing and using masks and sanitisers,” he said.
On social media, people have been vigorously calling for help to the homeless persons. “My dear Kashmiri brethren, this is a humble appeal. We’re all deeply impacted by #Nawakadal & alhumdullilah have come together to rebuild homes for our people. A corpus of ₹10 lakh has already been committed by an anonymous Kashmiri,” wrote Shazia Bakshi, a netizen.
“Residents of Kanimazar are leading the initiative to assist 15 families whose houses were destroyed in the encounter. Friends, please generously donate,” wrote Khuram Parvez, a prominent human rights activist.
However, BJP state spokesperson Altaf Thakur was against any relief to the affected. He said harbouring terrorists is tantamount to offence and the families deserve no sympathy. “During the gunfight, terrorists moved from one house to another as they had strategically selected a place where they could hide and escape from. They have been involved in an offence and don’t deserve any compensation,” he held.