Srinagar, Feb 6: National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Peoples Conference were seen on a same page regarding the ongoing anti-encroachment drive launched by the J&K administration. All three parties vociferously opposed the drive and advocated that the administration must follow “a proper procedure” as the move has triggered chaos across the UT.
Stating that the ongoing demolition drive going on across J&K has triggered a wave of frustration and chaos among people, National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah advocated that the government should make the bulldozer its last resort, give people a chance to prove their claim and issue proper notices to the people having illegal possession of State land. He was quick to add that the National Conference was not against those who have grabbed State land but “a proper procedure should be followed.”
“In J&K, there is chaos everywhere. Bulldozers are being sent everywhere to demolish houses, complexes and buildings. But nobody knows what is the procedure and on what basis this demolition drive is being conducted,” said Omar while addressing a press conference in Srinagar. He said his sister approached the High Court with regard to the proposed demolition of the Gupkar house of Omar and was told by the government before the Court that the list making rounds in the media are “forged.” “Given the government response in the court, I urge the government to make the genuine list of people who have grabbed State land public,” he said.
Omar suggested a slew of measures to the government with regard to the demolition drive. “No government is supposed to bring trouble for the people. Bulldozers should be the last resort. The Government must issue proper notices to those who, according to it, have grabbed State land and given them at least six weeks’ time to prove their claim on land under them and show the documents,” he said. “In our case, my sister produced the documents before the HC that states that the lease of Gupkar house is still active and has some years to expire. Likewise, people should be given time to present the documents and let the revenue team verify the same. If after proper verification land under anybody is found under illegitimate possession, then a bulldozer can be used for sure.”
Omar said that the government should also make a public “genuine list of people who have occupied State land.” “It seems that the ongoing drive is aimed at creating a wedge between communities. This drive lacks proper procedure,” he said.
He said in the case of demolition of NC leader Ali Muhammad Sagar, he found that no notice was served. “There is a procedure that if the person doesn’t receive the notice, the same is fixed on the front portion of the gate. Nowhere this is being done,” he said, adding, “Officials accompanying bulldozer at Nedous, told my relatives that they had pressure from the top and have to do something to show their bosses.”
Omar said in many areas the ongoing demolition-cum-eviction drive is becoming a “hub of corruption.” “I got many calls from several areas with people saying that they are being told to pay Rs 1 or 1.5 lakh to get their names removed from the list,” he said.
He said that NC MPs will try to raise the issue in the Parliament if they are given time to speak.
To a query that whey NC would approach the court on the issue, Omar said that he has suggested some measures to the government and that if the J&K administration fails to give positive response, they would surely consult lawyers and discuss the future course.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President and former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti said that the use of bulldozers have made Kashmir worse than Afghanistan.
Addressing a news conference in New Delhi, Mehbooba, said the anti-encroachment drive launched in Jammu & Kashmir is being used as a weapon to suppress the people. She said they are not against the government’s move to retrieve the land from land grabbers, but livelihood of people should not get affected.
Mehbooba also alleged that the drive is aimed at taking the shelters away from the people and the situation in Kashmir has been turned worse than Afghanistan.
While responding to a query, she said that the elections cannot be a solution to the Kashmir issue.
She said that the government is trying to divert the attention from the main issue of Statehood, restoration of Article 370 and other things. “We want a complete solution to Kashmir issue,” she said.
Accusing the Jammu & Kashmir administration of creating homelessness, Peoples Conference President Sajad Gani Lone said that “New Delhi shouldn’t be represented by bulldozers in Kashmir, but by love and compassion.”
Addressing a news conference at his church lane residence in Srinagar, as per KNO, Lone said the objective of the ongoing eviction drive seems humiliation of Kashmiris.
“What is the objective of the government? Do they want to retrieve land or humiliate people? I think humiliation is more important for them,” he said.
Lone said that the current administration in J&K is not an elected regime and should leave bigger decisions for an elected government.
“(President’s Rule) It is a temporary arrangement. They cannot make decisions on behalf of the people of J&K. They cannot make all decisions. They are not elected by the people,” Lone told reporters here.
Calling out it as an act of shamelessness, Lone while lashing out at authorities in the presser said, “This is not any bravery when you have 300 personals including other officials at the door of a poor man and then you start vandalization and click photos to claim you have done a big job, it is a matter of shame.”
Lone alleged that all this is done by a cabal of officers, who are against the elected government and also against those who talk about the elections.
“These are all tourists here and after a couple of years not even one of them will be here or they will return after retiring and the damage will leave a societal impact”, Lone said.
Accusing the government, Sajad said that there are big names who have not been touched yet and that he will release their list very soon.
“I also have a list, let them finish after that we will release the list of those big and influential names who so far have not been touched yet”, he said.
“Everything has its own procedure. Across India, there is a system of serving notices. None of the poor have been served notices here,” Lone said.
Lone, who was flanked by senior PC leaders Peerzada Mansoor Hussain and Muhammad Ashraf Mir, said that the J & K administration is inventing homelessness by razing down the homes of poor people. “They are not giving any notice. The law of the land cannot be violated,” he said, adding that only the poor are suffering due to the ongoing eviction drive in J&K.
He said that he is thinking of sitting on a hunger strike in New Delhi to protest against the ongoing demolition drive in J&K and for that matter, he will speak to his people first.
“I have never felt so helpless here. I want to ask my Prime Minister who is the Prime Minister of poor people whose houses are demolished. Where will poor people go?” he asked.
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