Anger mounts in Indian Kashmir after worst flood in over century

Anger mounts in Indian Kashmir after worst flood in over century

SRINAGAR India - Residents of revolt-torn Indian Kashmir turned their wrath on state administrators for failing to provide them with succour after the worst flooding in over a century, angrily dumping food parcels into gutters.

A week into the disaster, large parts of Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir, lay under water with many people still trapped atop their homes, and others crowded in relief camps.

Their misery has added to problems of the administration in a Muslim-majority region where a revolt against Indian rule has simmered for nearly a quarter century.

Many complain that the government, which has maintained a heavy presence in the territory to keep a lid on the revolt, has left them to their fate.

Residents stranded for days by the floodwaters said that the army has selectively evacuated tourists and people according to a pre-set priority list, leaving locals to be rescued later by volunteers.

"Helicopters came, and we waved our arms," said Aasiya Kutoo, who was living at a temporary shelter. "Nobody came for us. Nobody in our area was rescued by air."

Outside one mosque-turned-camp in Srinagar, food supplies dropped earlier in the day by a military helicopter were strewn in a gutter, rejected.

"People said we don't need this government food," said Nayeem, who lives in the neighborhood. He said since the state of India occupied Kashmir, they were only providing relief out of duty. "If another state occupied this land, they would be bound to do the same."

Both the Indian and Pakistan sides of the disputed Himalayan territory have been hit by extensive flooding since the Jhelum river, swollen by unusually heavy rain, surged last week. The river flows from Indian Kashmir to the Pakistan side, and then down into Pakistan's lower Indus river basin.

The Indian government has put the death toll at 200 in the part of Kashmir it controls but there are fears that number will rise as the damage to Srinagar, a city of one million, and villages in southern Kashmir is fully revealed.

On the Pakistani side, officials put the death toll at 264 on Friday.

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