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Opinion

Abdullahs Named To J&K Land Invasion List

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The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday released a voluminous list of beneficiaries of a two-decade-old law under which they allegedly obtained property rights to land they had illegally occupied, as well as invaders of vast tracts of state land, naming the former boss. the minister and member of Lok Sabha, Farooq Abdullah, among the latter.

A total of 1,787 beneficiaries, including nine state land invaders from Jammu district alone, have so far been posted on the government website http://divcomjammu.gov.in/# in accordance with a high court directive, which shows Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah having invaded seven kanals and seven marlas of state lands (once forest lands), in Bahu tehsil, Sunjwan village, in Jammu city.

The names of people, including other politicians, businessmen and public officials, were on the lists. Among them were former People’s Democratic Party (PDP) minister Haseeb Drabu and his family, prominent hotelier Mushtaq Chaya, former bureaucrat Mohammad Shafi Pandit and his wife Nighat Pandit, and former legislator Satpal Lakhotra.

Abdullah, 83, responded with allegations of political revenge ahead of elections to the district development councils in Jammu and Kashmir. In a clear reference to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Center, the head of the National Conference (NC) said: “Since the elections are just around the corner, I think they will dig the graves of others.”

Kamal hai in logon ka (The wonder of these people). They want us to give up, but why should we? Don’t the people of Sunjwan have the right to live? Isn’t the army brigade in Sunjwan on forest land? It is nothing more than a purely political vendetta, ”he said.

Abdullah said he had bought neither the land in Jammu nor the house in Srinagar under the Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Acquisition of Property from Occupants), popularly known as the Roshni Act, which the high court has ruled to be unconstitutional. and unsustainable.

He said: “It’s just propaganda against us. Can’t I understand what they want to do? The Sunjwan colony was not raised by me … it was raised a long time ago. Don’t we have the right to live? “

Abdullah admitted that the NC party headquarters in the southern Jammu village of Raipur, measuring three kanals and 16 marlas, had been regularized under the Roshni Law at a price of Rs 53.66,501. “We bought the land under the Roshni scheme and we did not get any concessions as others announced after us. No favors were done to us, ”he said.

In New Delhi, the Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad lashed out at political leaders, including Abdullah.

“There was a conscious looting of land by powerful J&K members who were profiting under the Roshni Act, which was declared unconstitutional by the J&K high court,” Prasad told reporters. “It is highly regrettable that key leaders in Jammu and Kashmir, including Farooq Abdullah, have used their influence and power to seize land and seize government land.”

The law, popularly known as the Roshni Law, was passed in 2001 to grant ownership of state lands to the people who occupied them after the law was introduced in the previous year’s budget speech by then-finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather of North Carolina.Proceeds from the sales were intended to aid in the electrification of the state.In 2005, the PDP government, led by Mufti Mohammed Syed, relaxed the cutoff year for occupiers to regularize the land to 2004. The Congressional government led by Ghulam Nabi Azad in 2007 relaxed the cutoff year to 2007. The Year of original cut had been 1990.

A 2014 Comptroller and Auditor General report found that only ₹ 76 crore had been obtained from the transfer of invaded lands between 2007 and 2013 against the ₹ 25,000 crore target.

In November 2018, then-Governor Satya Pal Malik canceled the law, saying that people in positions of power and people with financial resources, including bureaucrats, government officials, ministers, legislators, police personnel and businessmen, have “influenced the award completely. illegal state land “.

A senior official in the Jammu and Kashmir administration said on condition of anonymity: “The operation of the Roshni Act was carried out arbitrarily, dishonestly and illegally. There are obvious cases of usurpation of state lands. “

The Central Bureau of Investigation recorded cases after the superior court last month ordered the federal agency to investigate the allocation of land under the law that it ruled unconstitutional and unsustainable. The court also sought a list of beneficiaries.

Revenue department officials have been canceling mutation orders under the Act pursuant to a higher court order.

“Consequently, a list of 15,000 beneficiaries is being drawn upuploaded on the official website and the National Center for Informatics after due step-by-step investigation, ”said an official from the Jammu and Kashmir administration.

Drabu, a former finance minister, denied the allegation of wrongdoing, saying his grandfather had bought the land in question in 1956 on behalf of his mother, who divided it among his children after extending his lease.

“… the land was purely regularized according to the government’s Roshni Law. Where is the scam and what garbage is this? “Drabu asked, adding that the government should at least make a distinction between a tenant and a land grabber.

Former police director general SP Vaid defended the government’s action, noting that it was in line with the higher court order. “Some irregularities must have been committed and that is why the LG (lieutenant general) government is implementing the order of the higher court. It is a perfectly legal process and must be brought to its logical conclusion, ”he said.

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