Srinagar, June 26 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat forum has denounced the authorities for depriving the people of their livelihood.

The forum in a statement issued in Srinagar said, at the time when the COVID-19 pandemic, which is taking a daily toll on the lives of Kashmiri people, the authorities are snatching livelihood from the people.

It deplored that since December last year the authorities had ensured that the contracts for mineral blocks in every district of the territory were given to non-local contractors by opening up the bidding process to non-locals and manipulating it in their favour.

It said, now through an e-auction process, hundreds of sand extraction blocks along the Jhelum River and its tributaries that used to be given to locals against a royalty to the authorities, have all been given to non-locals. This process has rendered thousands of people associated with sand digging completely jobless, it added.

The forum said that hundreds of families directly or indirectly connected with this activity since decades have been deprived of their livelihood.

It said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, while initiating the implementation of a demographic change in the territory, the Indian authorities were simultaneously also exploiting Kashmir’s natural wealth and resources and rendering people jobless.

It urged the authorities to stop exploiting the situation and inflicting one assault after another on the people of occupied Kashmir. Such tactics will not change the basic reality of the Kashmir dispute, it added.

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