In March 2020, the Public Works Department of Jammu and Kashmir demolished 50 shops near the main bus stand in Tral in south Kashmir, affecting the livelihood of 50 families and rendering hundreds of people jobless.
According to government officials, the shops were illegally constructed on state land and were causing traffic congestion in the vicinity of the main bus stand. Sajad Ahmad, tehsildar, Tral, told, LCW that 50 'illegal' shops were demolished as they were set up on government land. Firstly, these shops were illegally constructed; second, these were causing inconvenience to the general public," he said. Government officials said the land retrieved from the encroachers will be used for road widening.
The shopkeepers, meanwhile, claim that the shops were constructed by a local organisation in the area some 40 years ago when Tral was not much developed. This land was not illegally occupied by us; we have been running our business here for the past many years. This land was gifted to the Tral Union and did not belong to the state, Ishfaq Ahmad Kar, Tral Union president, told LCW.
Many shopkeepers have bank loans, and they were paying their installments from the earnings they were getting from their shops, but now they have to sell their lands to repay the bank debts, Kar said, adding that the demolition has left hundreds of educated youths jobless.
The shopkeepers have demanded rehabilitation. According to them, the previous government had identified 18 kanals (0.9 hectares) of land for them. It was decided that the Union will construct new shops on this land and a monthly rent will be paid to Municipal Committee Tral, but the proposal was shunned for no reason, Kar added. In a letter to Baseer Ahmad Khan, adviser to the Jammu and Kashmir government, the Tral Union said that they had planned to construct the new shops at their own cost. The letter mentioned that the shops would act as a boundary wall to the land behind belonging to the horticulture department, which would save the government INR 3040 lakh to build a separate wall.
The shopkeepers informed LCW that they had approached the district and divisional administrations of Tral for help but were turned away. Earlier, 29 shops were demolished in Pulwama town to pave the way for road widening.
Demand/Contention of the Affected Community
Demand for rehabilitation
Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:
Revenue Department, Municipal Committee Tral, Public Works Department (Roads and Bridges), District and divisional administration, Tral
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Legislations Involved in the Conflict:
Procedural Laws, Central/State Government Policy, Other
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Forced evictions/ Dispossession of Land, Lack of legal protection over land rights, Non-rehabilitation of displaced people
Out of Court
Name(s) of Court(s)
Nature of Protest
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Reported Details of the Violation:
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?