Kavita Suri

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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir


Symbol of Unity


Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salahuddin’s village cries for water

Water, water everywhere in Kashmir- in Jhelum, Indus and Chenab - but not a drop to drink in Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin’s native village Soibug situated in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district. As the chief of Kashmir valley’s largest militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen and also the head of the United Jehadi Council (UJI) – the conglomerate of various militant groups fighting for Azadi in Kashmir, though Syed Salahuddin or Moulvi Yusuf Shah or Peer Sahib as he is popularly known as in this small sleepy village situated some 20 km from Srinagar, may control “jehad” in Kashmir, however he cannot provide succor to his own people in the form of the water.

Syed Salahuddin
Syed Salahuddin

Faced with acute water shortage in this small Budgam village having a population of over 6,000 people, the villagers who are facing much difficulty, are forced to drink the water having high iron content. Interestingly , the village to which no water supply scheme was made available since past 55 years of independence, also remained neglected by the successive government in the past 13 years of turmoil.

Most of the people here attribute it to the biased attitude of the government towards this village as the militant commander Syed Salahuddin hails from this picturesque place. Presently in Pakistan-occupied- Kashmir, Salahuddin still has a single storeyed house here which is presently abandoned. His brother Merajuddin and his family still resides in this village. 

The villagers says that it is because of this apathetic attitude of the government towards them that they have been denied water supply.

Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi, the powerful religious leader belonging to dominating Shia community of Budgam district who is also the sitting MLA from Budgam and has a massive following the area, informed The Statesman that  the former PHE minister Ali Sagar got two tube wells dug in this area  but unfortunately they bore no water. A third tubewell was also dug later which had some water. But even this tubewell water is not fit for drinking as it has much iron content in it which was not good for health,”said Aga Ruhullah adding that the government did not give any attention to the acute drinking water problem of the people of the area.

Forced by the shortage of water, the villagers have been left with no choice but to drink the polluted water of small streams besides the water of the tubewell having high iron content. 

Even the minister for Public Health and Engineering Qazi Mohammed Afzal admitted in the State Assembly recently that the inhabitants of the village Soibugh were facing hardships for want of drinking water. The government also admitted in the House that it has time and again assured the poor hapless villagers of the area to solve this problem once for all by providing adequate water supply scheme. But no measures have been taken so far.

“The service level of Water Supply Scheme Sholipora Soibugh constructed decades back is reduced affecting the villages at the tail end . Efforts are afoot to mitigate the scarcity of water,”said Afzal.

However Ruhullah said that as there was feasibility of getting the water supplied through HMT Sharifabad, the government should immediately provide the villagers with this water supply. 

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