Jammu and Kashmir floods: Is the rising public anger justified?

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People carrying their belongings wade through a waterlogged street in Srinagar. (PTI Photo)
For the past one week, people are marooned on rooftops and are also infuriated by the delay in help reaching them. Because of all this, people in Srinagar vented out their ire by pelting stones at Army trucks which were carrying relief supplies at Tangpora near Batamaloo on Wednesday.

As per reports the water levels came down today but, it seems with the falling water levels, anger of people is rising. The Army is trying its best to rescue more and people but still it seems that people are not happy with the State Government efforts in doing the same.

What is the current situation?

Flood waters receded in the Kashmir Valley Wednesday but anxiety prevailed among people who are still stranded.

As per reports, the death toll in the floods in Jammu & Kashmir which is the worst to have hit the state in the last 60 years, has reached 215.

Over 90,000 people have been rescued so far in the state by the armed forces and the National Disaster Response Force.

Although the rescue operations are on, but now a new concern about the possible outbreak of water-borne diseases has arisen.

After days of breakdown of the communication systems, nearly 8,000 landlines have been activated in Srinagar and mobile phone services have also been partially restored in the area.

Why flood victims are angry?

With the rescue operations in many areas of J&K is helping a large chunk of people, but then there are also areas where people unable to venture out of their homes and thus, it is becoming increasingly hard to survive without food and water.

And then there are people who are marooned on the rooftops for the past one week and others are infuriated by the delay in help reaching them.

On Wednesday, the locals attacked the NDRF men and even pelted stones in the Army trucks as they apparently wanted the rescuers to concentrate on a particular area. But when the rescue team decided to go to a different marooned area, the locals attacked them.

They even stopped IAF choppers from landing at the governor's residence amid allegations of selective rescue.

The victims are also saying that the rescue operations are being carried out selectively, thus, raising more anger.

Meanwhile, the Army Officers said, "They were angry because they wanted to be airlifted and rescued first."

Locals getting ignored

As per an Indian Express report, "Thousands of people who are still trapped inside the homes, residents in Srinagar claim that the government has failed to launch a rescue operation so far, forcing civilian rescue workers to travel across the submerged city to take people to safer places. Though the water in river Jhelum has receded, it is increasing in Dal Lake and some other water bodies in Srinagar, inundating more neighbourhoods in the city."

Unavailability of rescuers has forced the locals civilians to travel across the city using wooden boats and carry out rescue operations. Such people have rescued thousands of fellow locals in the past three days.

People were marooned in the worst affected Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Lal Chowk, Maisuma and Khayam areas.

"We know that it is not safe without safety gear, but what else can we do?" Aabid Firdous, a rescue worker was quoted as saying. He further said, "If we wait for the government, we will only find the bodies, maybe not even that."

How Omar Govt is reacting to the public anger?

"I understand the anger(of people). I don't grudge them. They have gone through difficult times. People are alive to shout slogans, I have no problems," said J&K CM Omar Abdullah on being asked about his reaction for people's anger.

"It is an unprecedented situation. In nobody's life time, we remember water to be at this level. It is something nobody could have prepared for. The efforts of the central government, army, air force and state government and operations have been ramped up. Supplies are arriving and we are doing our best to rescue people," he said.

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