Srinagar: At least a dozen shopkeepers along with 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, said that he was asked to vacate the shop in 2019. He said he had been running the shop since 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.”
“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”. he added.
Aggarwal said that there were twenty-seven shopkeepers at the time of eviction.
Appealing the government and GOC to provide them “justice”, Aggarwal said that they want the authorities to return them their source of livelihood.
The non-local shopkeeper said that the merchandise they had then continues to lie there by now as.
“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 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 alloted the shops”, he said.
They 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 that at least 130 people were earning their livelihood at that time.
However all those were rendered jobless. “Many of them have been there since nineties.”
They appealed the authorities to reinstate them and allow them earn their livelihood so that their families do not starve and education to their children is ensured.
(With inputs from GNS)