Shopkeepers protest over eviction order by Army on Srinagar outskirts

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Around a dozen shopkeepers accompanied by their children on Saturday staged a protest against their ‘eviction’ from 15 Corps Battle School in Khrew in city suburbs.

Pawan Kumar Aggarwal, an aggrieved shopkeeper, as per a local news agency, Global News Service (GNS), said that he was asked to vacate the shop in 2019. He said he had been running the shop from 1997. “We want our shops back so that we can carry on with our business and feed our children”, Aggarwal said.

The protesting shopkeepers said that they received a notice from army, asking them that the shops are to be allotted to ex-servicemen, Aggarwal said. “Nowhere else has been such an injustice done as has been done to us.”

He further said: “When we asked army as to why were we being evicted, they replied that it was not in their hands and that they have orders from the top”. Aggarwal said that there were a total of twenty-seven shopkeepers at the time of eviction.

Asking the government and GOC to provide them “justice”, Aggarwal said that they want the authorities to return their source of livelihood.

When asked as to whether any compensation was paid to them, the non-local shopkeeper replied in negative and said that the merchandise they had then continues to lie there by now. “We even had constructed the shops on our own”, he further said.

Another aggrieved shopkeeper identifying himself as Zahid Sultan, a resident of Ladhoo, said that he was allotted a shop in 15 CBS and had been working there smoothly alongside other people.

However, according to Zahid, a notice was served to them around November 2019, asking them to vacate the shop. “The notice cited some new enactment, wherein the army said that the ex-servicemen were to be adjusted for the shops”, he said.

Thet urged Lieutenant Governor and GOC to intervene and ensure livelihood to them.

They said ex-servicemen were already receiving pension but “we have no where to go and nothing to earn”.

They said some one-hundred thirty people were earning their livelihood at that time. However, all those were rendered jobless, they said. “Many of them have been there since nineties.”

They appealed the authorities to reinstate them and allow them earn their livelihood so that they can sustain their families and ensure education to their children. (GNS)

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