FLASHBACK 2020 | Baramulla struggled with narcotic abuse, pandemic, LoC firing

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Year 2020 was a bleak year for the people of north Kashmir with eight persons dying of consumption of narcotics substances.

Several families were devastated and civil societies members were forced to revisit their priorities so that youth do not become casualty of this menace.

A family lost their only son among children due to this menace while Police recently arrested a man, who used to lead prayers at a Masjid in the absence of the Imam, in connection with the sale of narcotics.

The huge recovery of heroin and brown sugar across Baramulla and Kupwara districts during 2020 also reflects how easily narcotics substances finds their way into the area despite strict vigil at the Line of Control.

According to Police, apart from heroin, over 42 kg brown sugar was recovered during the year 2020 across Baramulla and Kupwara districts of north Kashmir. The maximum quantity of narcotics was recovered from Kupwara district. In connection with the seized contraband, over 82 cases were registered while more than 140 persons arrested.

MISINFORMATION IN PANDEMIC

During the early stages of COVID19 pandemic when little information was available, people not only boycotted the area but the authorities even dismantled some culverts and dug the road to stop the access of the people to ‘red zones’.

In one such incident, at Churimarpora Kanlibagh Baramulla, authorities dismantled a culvert in Gund Jahangir area of Hajin, Bandipora. The authorities also dug a road to stop the inward and outward movement from the ‘red zone’.

LOC FIRING SURGE

People living in villages close to the Line of Control (LoC) had no respite from the firing along the LoC, which caused loss to both human lives as well as property.

Baramulla as well as Kupwara districts of north Kashmir were worst affected and the firing left 11 civilians besides 14 forces personnel dead. Property worth crores of rupees was also destroyed.

The worst day of firing along the LoC in Uri was November 13 when six civilians and two forces personnel were killed in the day-long exchange of shelling.

The intense shelling forced people here to run for safety and scores of them took shelter in temporary shelters provided by the administration in Uri town.

The single-largest civilian casualty in Kupwara district was recorded on April 12 when three civilians including an eight-year-old boy and a woman were killed during the firing along LoC in Keran sector. Several residential houses were also damaged.

Similarly, the Gurez sector of north Kashmir too witnessed increase in the firing along LoC in which several forces personnel besides civilians were injured.

RELIEF FOR TOWN DWELLERS

The completion of Government Transport Yard Bridge, connecting old town with the civil lines area provided a huge relief to the residents of Baramulla town, especially the dwellers of old town Baramulla. Considered one of the oldest bridges across Baramulla district, it had got damaged during 2014 floods after which authorities declared it “unsafe”.

The delay in its completion evoked several protests in the area and the authorities finally directed the executing agency to start round-the-clock working on the bridge construction. The bridge was finally opened for public, much to the delight of the residents who termed its completion “historic” as it brought back economic stability to scores of shopkeepers who, in its absence, were struggling to make ends meet. The completion of the bridge has also made life of the people of the area comfortable as its absence meant they had no option but to use boats to cross the River Jhelum.