A protest against lethargic response to Kashmir floods was organised by Zakat Foundation of India in Jantar Mantar this past week. The participants talked about how thousands of people are still trapped in Jammu & Kashmir and how poor communication lines and high water level is coming in the way of relief operations.
Syed Zafar Mahmood of the Foundation emphasised the need to have a better understanding of the enormity of the situation. “It is a peaceful protest to grab the attention of people and the Government. Only 60 boats were pressed into service and 21 choppers were deployed but the situation demanded 1000 boats and 200 choppers. National efforts are very important in this situation. Prime Minister Modi has also declared the situation as a national level disaster”.
He said the Foundation has sent a team with life saving jackets and blankets. They are also helping them by providing basic needs like food, torch, batteries, candles and boats. “Dead bodies are floating in Srinagar itself and the Army needs to blast the mountains and take out water like it did in Uttarakhand. Thousands of people have died and houses have collapsed. The situation in Kashmir Valley still remains critical and several villages like Kakapura, Ledpura, Goripura and Sangam have been washed away.”
One of the protesters said, “We are not here to criticise anyone. We are requesting the State governments and common people to help the Kashmiris. Only 50,000 of over 5 lakh affected people have been rescued. The situation needs to be taken seriously. It is very difficult to contact our families or relatives.”
He said as the water level is decreasing the situation is worsening as a new set of problems is waiting to be tackled. Water borne diseases need to be tackled urgently.