In an ongoing drive against the illegal encroachment of land, the authorities on Wednesday sealed 25 shops at Aftab market in Srinagar.
Few months back, a complaint was received from the successor of one Kulvant Singh, who claimed that their ancestral land measuring 2.6 Kanals at Srinagar’s Lal Chowk area was ‘encroached’ on which shops structures have been raised now, KNO reported.
“Divisional authorities Kashmir a few months back received a complaint from an individual that this ancestral land has been encroached, and acting upon the complaint the land was found to be recorded on their name, following which a due process was initiated and illegal occupants were served eviction notices,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the shops that have come up on the land have been sealed today following which the shopkeepers staged a protest in the market, claiming that they have been paying the rentals to SMC for decades.
“We have been paying the monthly rentals since 1972 towards the SMC, and just three days back, we were given an eviction notice and we were not given even any chance to respond to that,” a group of shopkeepers said.
The shopkeepers said that with this move they and their families will be rendered helpless and are being pushed towards starvation, saying that how would they earn a livelihood for themselves and their families in absence of the business they have been doing for more than 50 years.
“We already had a meeting with the successor of Gandha Sahib and he said let us sit and talk and fix the rent agreement and we were waiting for his phone call and now you can see what they have done. This is mayhem for us,” another shopkeeper said.