Sopore: From Chotta London to Shanty Town

The people of Sopore have had a glorious history of self respect, dignity and cultural achievements. This area has produced eminent personalities in politics, Arts, Literature, trade and industry. But, the once lively and thriving area now presented a picture of abject and neglect which can be attributed only to the governments biased attitude against it. 

Referring to the problems of youth, though the entire young generation was a particular victim of the policy of repression be it NC,s reign , PDP or Congress  and  the young men of Sopore had borne the brunt of police atrocities. On the other hand, the youth are being denied any opportunities of employment and economic growth. The populace of this area were assured every now and then that every problem of this area will b solved but still the promises remain unfulfilled.

For the last seven decades in general and last 30 years in particular Sopore has been Ignored, selectively and repeatedly charred and inhabitants killed and maimed. Sopore has been crushed, its modesty outraged by the authorities at the helm but the revolutionary spirit has grown more robust.

Fifty kilometres up the highway from Srinagar city, a bend at Sangrama leads to Sopore. The town is not too far from Baramulla district headquarters and should have been equipped with all modern facilities due to its proximity. However, we  have been neglected systematically for their anti-establishment sentiment and refusal to be the vote bank. 

Sopore has been neglected systematically for anti-establishment sentiment of its people and their refusal to be the mere vote bank. Sopore  virtually doesn’t exist on the governance map of the state. The town is surrounded by security camps and a massive security presence round the clock has chocked it.

The attributes of this scenic Sopore town are more than one. It is one of the most sought-after towns in the Kashmir for its centrality and proximity to Wullar Lake. But, its present status is because it is the native town of the veteran pro-freedom leader and Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Perhaps this attribute has transformed it from apple town to rebel town.

As there is so much talk about Swacch Bharat campaign, the Sopore town continues to sink under the garbage it produces. The authorities are failing for years to finalize a dumping site for the town’s garbage.

Amidst this administrative neglect, streets, markets, roads and riverbeds of Sopore are getting overwhelmed by the garbage, posing dangers to the environment, water and the health of residents.

Also, lack of public convenience in the whole town forces local populace to urinate in the open including womenfolk, which is so embarrassing.

Once called as Chota London for its prosperity, the town has literally become the garbage town and the small roads and illegal encroachment of footpaths further adds to the chaos.

The new administrative units in the state may not have been about the creation of new districts but that is no reason for Sopore not to feel left out. 

 The town’s long running demand for a separate district is always  being ignored.Baramulla is the district which comprises seven tehsils. There are several districts with just three tehsils. So, there is a strong case for Sopore to be made a district,” 

“Sopore despite being one of the largest and important towns in the Valley has still not got a district,” 

Sopore had been pledged a district status by the former Chief Minister and National Conference founder, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in 1975. Sopore was on way to become a district but death of Sheikh Sahib in 1982 aborted the process. 

The town has been one of the largest and oldest subdivision of state with seven tehsil’s.

Due to negligence from all the civil and administrative sections, the town has become a pothole on the map. People suffer from basic amenities, if we start from Sangrama that’s the entrance to the town you will find it chocked with traffic for hours.

The people of Sopore have shown unimaginable courage and unity throughout the turbulent times. Be it repeated arsons of all major commercial places by security forces on the pretext of crossfire or be it brazen killings and mass massacres of civilians not once but many times. The zeal, valor and spirit of the people of Sopore cannot be broken by theories of conspiracy hatched to tarnish and malign the image of Sopore. We the people of Sopore stand together against these brazen theories and detestable concoctions.




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