Majid Kapra

Shopkeepers protest forced eviction from 15 Corps Battle School

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Appeal LG, GOC to intervene to save their livelihoods

SRINAGAR: Scores of shopkeepers along with their families Saturday staged a protest here against their ‘eviction’ from the shops they were running at 15 Corps Battle School (15-CBS) in Khrew area of Pampore in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district for the last 25 years.

Protesting shopkeepers alleged that their shops were allotted to the ex-servicemen of the Army in November 2019, three months after special status of Jammu and Kashmir was scrapped and the erstwhile state divided into two Union Territories.

They, however, said some ex-servicemen have exercised their dominion over the tangible property despite the matter being sub-judice. Protesters appealed to the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and GOC 15-Corps to intervene to save their livelihoods.

Around a dozen shopkeepers along with their families including children, holding placards which read “Please save our studies”, “We want justice” and “GOC 15-Corps please intervene” appeared at Press Enclave and staged a protest against what they alleged was forced eviction from 15-CBS.

“We were asked to vacate our shops immediately as the same stands allotted to ex-servicemen of the army as laws stand amended. We, as legal possessors, approached the court against the forced eviction. Despite the matter despite being sub-judice, locks of our shops were broken and stock disposed of,” Pawan Kumar Agarwal, a shopkeeper told reporters.

They alleged that at least 27 people who are under “legal possession” of these shops for the last 25years, are being asked to vacate by the Sub-Area Commander of the Army.

“We were served an eviction notice in November 2019 and informed that shops will be allotted to the ex-servicemen.

“Before serving notices, we were allowed to renovate shops but as soon as the renovation work was completed, we were asked to vacate,” Zahid Sultan, another protester from Ladoo Pampore said.

He said the shops they were running for the last 25 years are the only sources of income for them and that they cannot afford to lose the same.

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