Unable to pay house rent, 35 Kashmiri shawl vendors face eviction in Kolkata

Srinagar: Centre’s advisory notwithstanding, more than 35 Kashmiri shawl sellers are staring at eviction as their landlords have issued ultimatum to pay the rent or vacate their premises in Kolkata.

Ministry of Home Affairs had recently issued orders advising landlords to desist from demanding rent from the migrant labourers, students, and workers for one month.

“Where ever the workers, including the migrants, are living in rented accommodation, the landlords of those properties shall not demand payment of rent for one month. If any landlord is forcing laborers and students to vacate their premises, they will be liable for action under the Act,” read the MHA order.

However, 35 shawl vendors hailing from Budgam district, who come in the category of migrant workers, are being asked to pay rent or vacate premises at Baghajatin in Kolkata.

Arif Ahmad Lone, a 28-year-old shawl seller, said they have exhausted all their savings on food and groceries. “We have paid the rent for March. I requested my landlord to suspend Rs 8500 rent for April, but he refused,” he said.

Lone noted that he had booked tickets for March 24, but due to lockdown he was left stranded in Kolkata.

“I along with my four roommates had booked the train tickets. However, the lockdown was imposed on March 22,” he said. 

After the lockdown, they called up their family members for money to buy air tickets. “We later booked the air tickets for April 15. Unfortunately, the flight operations were also suspended. Now we don’t know where to go. Every last bit of savings has been spent on essentials,” he said.

Despite calling repeatedly, Deputy Commissioner Budgam Tariq Hussain Ganai was unavailable for the comments.

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About the Author

When the world fails to make sense, Hirra Azmat seeks solace in words. Both worlds, literary and the physical lend color to her journalism.

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