Shopian sept 16: Even as the weeklong curfew has crippled life here, grief seems to have united people, as villagers from the outskirts are lending a helping hand to the besieged residents of the main town.
People from Pinjoora, Shirmaal, Nikas, Awind, Tashloo and Imam Sahab have ensured uninterrupted supply of essential commodities to the residents of the main town who have been confined indoors by the CRPF troopers and police with a strict curfew in place.
The residents of Alialpora, Gagran, Baba Mohalla, Jana Mohalla, Bongam, Bon Bazaar, Naik Mohalla, Tak Mohalla, Gadri Mohalla, Rangri Mohalla, Jamia Masjid, Teng Peth and other localities of the main town are receiving essential supplies like rice, wheat, milk and vegetables.
“Initially, we were running short of essentials. However, our brethren came to our rescue. Every night, after the troopers return to their camps, the people from neighbouring areas bring us milk, vegetables and bread. I’m happy to see that the community sentiment is alive,” says Habeel Iqbal, a young lawyer from Baba Mohalla, which has witnessed violent clashes between angry people and government forces in the wake of the killing of five youths on September 7 and 11.
“The grief is binding us. Every day I get many calls with people offering help for the besieged residents of the town. In this hour of crisis, our brethren have not left us alone,” Iqbal told Kashmir Reader. “This shows that the people of Kashmir, particularly Shopian, are conscious of their obligations,” he said.
Another youth, Mohammad Waseem, said, “Shopian town would have witnessed humanitarian crisis had our neighbours ignored us in this hour of need. We would have died of starvation.”
Bashir Ahmad, a resident of Alialpora, said that relief is not only distributed among the locals but to hundreds of non-locals labourers as well who find it hard to cope with the ongoing crisis.
“Before taking care of our own people, we ensure to distribute the essentials among the labourers from Bihar, West Bengal and UP who are residing and working in the town. We can’t see them and their families hungry,” Ahmad added.
Mohammad Afzal, an elderly man, said that though the food items were reaching the residents during the night, the shortage of drugs was posing a serious challenge to the ailing people.
“The chemists’ shops don’t open because of the presence of forces till late night. Besides, we’re running low on money. Even an ATM located near the hospital has been locked down. We’re suffering a lot because of the curfew,” he added.
Curfew was imposed in Shopian town after CRPF troopers shot dead four people, including a non-local, near Gagran camp on September 7. The killings triggered massive anti-India protests prompting the authorities to extend curbs in the neighbouring districts of Kulgam and Pulwama. The killing of another youth on September 11 further ignited the passions.
Courtesy: Kashmir Reader