Kashmiris continue to suffer as lockdown enters 125th day

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SRINAGAR, (DNA): The people particularly the residents of the Kashmir Valley continue to suffer immensely due to continued military lockdown, which entered 125th straight day, today.The imposition of restrictions under Section 144 in the territory and deployment massive deployment of Indian troops in every nook and corner of the occupied territory has created a sense of fear among the local people.The ban on internet, text messaging and prepaid mobile connections remains in force and the restoration of some means of communications, such as landline phones and postpaid mobile services, could not provide any respite to the people.

On the other hand, a mentally-challenged man identified as 40-year-old Bashir Ahmed Ganai was critically injured after he was fired upon by Indian troops in Pulwama district. The troops fired at Ganai when he was roaming in the area and came close to the wall of the high-security zone at the Awantipora Air Force Station.

Meanwhile, the administration has issued notifications banning civilian constructions and repairs near Indian Army’s field ordnance depots in various districts of the Kashmir Valley except if they are approved by the army or top district officials.

The move has triggered fear among the masses that it could be a prelude to evicting thousands of residents from their homes. Many people in occupied Kashmir believe that special status of Kashmir was scrapped to facilitate the settlement of outsiders to change the demographic composition of the territory.

The notifications have been issued following the instructions of the defence ministry and under provisions of the Works of Defence Act (WODA), 1903, which is applicable in the whole of the country, they said.

While notifications by the districts’ administration ban constructions and repairs, a WODA notification on Srinagar’s Indra Nagar locality, which is adjoining a field ordnance depot, asks the district magistrate to ensure “that the said land may be kept free from buildings and other obstructions”.

High court lawyer Zaffar Qureshi, who lives in Indra Nagar and is planning to file a petition in court on behalf of the locals, told media that the old constructions could be removed next. “They (authorities) have the power to remove the constructions, for which people will be compensated. (So) it is not just apprehension, but they (government) can do it,” he said. DNA

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