Destruction of houses in the name of ‘Collateral Damage’
2018 was the most deadliest year in the decade after 2009, more than 580 people were killed which included 160 civilians and 267 militants, reported by Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society. Besides, thousands were left injured.
Use of force during encounters (counter insurgency operations) made thousands of people lose their homes. Homes that were built with blood, sweat and tears. Destruction of homes has been called “Collateral Damage”. The CASOs have become a daily routine which are followed by encounters and blasting of structures.
The destruction of houses and properties has become a part of the encounters now. According to a report published by TRT World, it is estimated that as many as 5400 structures including houses, shops, and other buildings have been damaged in the “counter-insurgency” operations between 1989 and 2011. At least 105 homes were destroyed in the past 3 years alone.
It is impossible to keep a track of all the structures destroyed in the year but here is a list of some of the houses that were leveled to ground during the encounters in the year 2018.
Ghulam Ahmad Bhat (Madhosh Balhami), a poet lost his home and his writings to an encounter, this happened when a few militants took refuge in his house, it was later reduced to ashes and rubble.
At Mujgund, in the outskirts of the capital city Srinagar, seven houses were damaged/destroyed after troops used RPGs and LMGs to neutralize the militants who were hiding in the houses. 3 of them were killed including a 14 year old Mudasir Parray. Another slain militant namely Saquib Farooq, 17 had played a small role in a Bollywood film “Haider”.
In South Kashmir’s Kulgam district, 3 houses including a shopkeeper’s house and a go down were burnt down. Militants were believed to be hiding in the structures. This operation resulted in the killing of 4 civilians.
In South Kashmir’s Turkwangam village of Shopain district, three houses were burnt down during the search operation, no militants or weapons were found.
In Pulwama’s Thanuma area, a house was raised to ground followed by killing of a militant and a civilian.
*Ubair Ul Hameed is a journalism student at Aligarh Muslim University, India.