Srinagar, Oct 19 (UNI): Various markets in the city centre observed a shutdown on Thursday in protest against the sealing off six shops by the officials of Wakf Board.
Officials of the Wakf board sealed six shops in the Budshah market last night for not paying their rent to the board.
President of Budshah Market Firdous Ahmed said that men from the Wakf board came on Wednesday night when all shops were closed and sealed six shops in the complex.
He said a case on the rent issue is in the court and an interim order in favour of shopkeepers has been issued to deposit 50 percent of rent until the final decision is being taken.
Ahmed said the court has granted 15 days time to the wakf board for submitting their proposals yesterday during the hearing.
Firdous said whatever the court will decide they will accept that. He said the case is still in court and the court has not issued yet any order in any one favour.
“Sealing of shops is totally illegal,” he said.
“We have closed all shops today to lodge a peaceful protest against the seizure of shops by the Wakf board”, the President said.
He also urged the Waqk board to have a look into the matter and de-seal the shops to allow the shopkeepers to run their business until court issues its order.
Ahmed said the former chairman of the Wakf board had signed an agreement with the shopkeepers in which it was accepted that 120 percent of rent be increased from 2018 and thereafter 5 percent more increase every year.
He said the shopkeepers were paying this much of the amount.
Firdous said in last year, Wakf board issued notice and increased 600 to 7000 percent rent adding that those shopkeepers who were paying monthly rent of Rs 2500 had to pay Rs 13500.
Meanwhile, Wakf Board Chairperson Darakshan Andrabi said the Wakf board won’t allow tenants of Wakf properties to keep going on without paying rent.
Andrabi said whenever rent is being increased to the tenants of Waqf board they resume protest.
“Waqf properties do not belong to Dr Darakshan Andrabi. This belongs to the people, she said and added if it runs like this during the next five years the name of Wakf board would not exist as these people (tenants) are occupying the shops without initiating any rent deeds”.
She said there is no rent deed or lease order in their favour and all had expired. The 11 month long rent deed has already expired. The properties belong to the wakf and will remain, she added.
Andrabi said “today those who are protesting are all illegal occupants and these six shopkeepers owe rent of 9,50,000 to Wakf Board and have to pay that amount. We are not going to allow them what they were doing in the past regimes’ ‘, she warned.
She said those shopkeepers who could not afford to pay the rent should vacate the shops.
The wakf Board has increased the rent from Rs 500 to 5000, 700 to 7000 and 800 to 8000, she added.