Shopian: On Sunday morning, Gulzar Ahmad went to tend to his apple farm, located half a kilometer from his house in quaint Wachuhalan Imamsahab village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
As he entered the farm sprawling over 8 kanal, he saw hundreds of apples carpeting the lush green ground.
For a few minutes, Ahmad stood in stunned silence looking at the fallen apple, as he was unable to understand what spurred the sudden fruit drop.
“It was not a windfall as there was no wind or storm the previous night,” Ahmad thought.
Soon he realised that the fruit had been deliberately knocked down by beating the branches with poles or canes as there were no such fruit fall in other orchards. “It is the handiwork of some miscreants,” Ahmad said.
According to Ahmad, around 250 to 300 boxes of apples had been knocked down overnight. Of the 8 kanal farmland, 4 kanal belong to his brother Abdul Aziz.
According to Gulzar and Aziz, the miscreants had also caused significant damage to the trees by breaking the apple-laden branches. Ahmad lives off the land and has no other source of income.
“I have four daughters and this orchard was the only source of income for my family,” he said. Ahmad said that all his hopes were tied with the crop.
“I had already taken Rs 2 lakh in advance from a trader. I don’t understand how to repay the debt,” Ahmad said. He said that the damaged fruit could not be sold even at throwaway prices in the market.
The duo appealed to the authorities to provide them adequate compensation and ensure justice by punishing the guilty.
Meanwhile, the officials from the Police and the Department of Horticulture visited the spot. Police have registered a case and started an investigation.