Occupied Kashmir: Court Intervenes to Preserve 7 Wetlands Declared Ramsar Sites

Tue Nov 21 2023
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SRINAGAR, Occupied Kashmir: The High Court’s recent scrutiny reveals a concerning lack of commitment from the Modi-led Indian occupation regime to preserve the heritage of Jammu and Kashmir.

In a suo-moto Public Interest Litigation (PIL), the court emphasized the authorities’ failure to submit a status report on seven wetlands recognized as internationally important Ramsar Sites in the region.

The division bench, led by Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice M A Chowdhary, expressed disappointment over the serious lapse, noting that despite the court’s order from September 9 last year, the report has not been filed.

Recognizing the significance of the matter and the Indian Supreme Court’s desire for monitoring, the bench granted a final opportunity to file the report, warning that failure would result in appropriate penal action against those responsible.

Amicus curiae Nadeem Qadri highlighted a report titled ‘Anchar Lake in death throes’ published on July 23 in Greater Kashmir during the court proceedings. The report detailed the dire state of Anchar Lake in Srinagar, emphasizing the urgent need for the court’s intervention to protect the lake.

The court, responding to the submission, directed the authorities to include in the status report the current condition of Anchar Lake. Initially, four wetlands were recognized as Ramsar sites, and this number has now expanded to seven, covering crucial areas like Hokersar, Wular Lake, Shalbugh, and Haigam in Kashmir Valley, Tso Moriri and Tso Kar in Ladakh, and Surinsar-Mansar lakes in Jammu. The court’s intervention underscores the need for immediate action to safeguard these ecologically vital sites, emphasizing the environmental and cultural heritage at stake.

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