J&K anti-encroachment drive: Abdullah, Mufti, Lone attack administration

Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Sajad Lone criticise the J&K administration on the anti-encroachment drive

SRINAGAR | Updated: 07 February, 2023 12:12 am IST
Sajjad Lone, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah

With some of the kin of their leaders under the lens for illegally occupying government land, the mainstream parties of Jammu and Kashmir ganged up on February 6 to criticise the administration for its ongoing anti-encroachment drive.

Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC), Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (JKPDP) and Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference (JKPC) blamed the administration for creating homelessness by bulldozing the homes of poor and marginalised people.

With J&K LG Manoj Sinha making it clear that the drive is against the illegal occupation of government land by influential people in the union territory, leaders of various political parties in the valley expressed unhappiness as their kin has to lose any illegally occupied lands.

Meanwhile, JKNC vice president Omar Abdullah said his sister approached the High Court with regards to the proposed demolition of the Gupkar house owned by him.

Abdullah said that the government told his sister, before the court, that the list making the rounds in the media is “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.

Abdullah said that the ongoing demolition drive has triggered a wave of frustration and chaos among people. “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 said.

“Bulldozers are being sent everywhere to demolish houses, apartment complexes and buildings. But nobody knows what the procedure is or on what basis this demolition drive is being conducted,” Abdullah said.

Abdullah clarified that his party is not against those who have grabbed state land but said that “a proper procedure should be followed.” by the administration in dealing with the issue.

Meanwhile, in New Delhi, JKPDP chief Mufti said that the BJP has turned J&K into Afghanistan by using bulldozers to demolish the homes of the poor and marginalised under the ongoing anti-encroachment drive.

Drawing a comparison between Kashmir, Palestine and Afghanistan she said, “Palestine is still better. At least people talk there. Kashmir is becoming worse than Afghanistan, the way bulldozers are being used to demolish the homes of people. What is the purpose of demolishing small houses for people?”

Mufti further alleged that the BJP is using its brute majority to weaponise everything and bulldoze the “Constitution”. She appealed to the opposition leaders in the country to not remain as mute spectators “to the atrocities being committed by the BJP”.

Sajad Lone, chairman of the JKPC, accused the J&K administration of creating homelessness in the UT of J&K. “New Delhi shouldn’t be represented by bulldozers in Kashmir, but by love and compassion,” Lone said in Srinagar.

He said that the objective of the ongoing eviction drive seems to be the 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 also said that the current administration in J&K is not an elected regime and should leave bigger decisions for an elected government.

Despite the administration giving assurances that small farmers and poor people would not be evicted, fear crept into the valley after a list was published on social media that carried the names of common people and their property details.

Taking cognizance of the matter, the Srinagar administration issued a statement terming the list as fake. It also advised people not to pay any heed to the misinformation that was being circulated to create fear and panic among the masses.

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