Azad demands formal order on sparing poor in anti-encroachment drive

DAP chief Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing party workers at Sonwar in Srinagar on Saturday. -Excelsior/Shakeel
DAP chief Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing party workers at Sonwar in Srinagar on Saturday. -Excelsior/Shakeel

DAP postpones agitation on assurances

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR Feb 4: Democratic Azad Party (DAP) chief Ghulam Nabi Azad today demanded a formal order from Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on sparing the poor in the anti-encroachment drive that has been launched in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Azad, addressing his party workers at Sonwar here, said that he requested the Union Home Minister Amit Shah that people should not be evicted from houses and from businesses in the on-going eviction drive.
“I met Union Home minister Amit Shah and requested him that poor people should not be evicted from their houses, or poor shopkeepers from their shops through which they earn their livelihoods,” he said.
Azad welcomed the statement of the LG and said it cannot be a policy of any Government to make its people homeless.
“…we have decided to postpone our agitation based on their assurances. Most of these people are poor. There are 50-60 lakh households, which is half of our population. It cannot be a policy of any Government to make people homeless,” he said.
He said conflicting statements by the administration have created a confusion, and therefore the Raj Bhavan should issue a formal order making it clear that poor people and small shopkeepers will not be evicted.
“Thousands of people in Mumbai and Delhi encroach State land and the Government provides them all facilities like electricity and water,” he said.
Political parties and Governments promise them regularisation during elections and several of these colonies have been regularised too, then why not in J&K,” he added.
Azad said his party was not in favour of illegal occupation of Government land by rich and influential people.
“But there should not be pick and choose while dealing with the big fishes,” he said.
When asked about Chief Secretary’s directive to officers to check if anybody making negative statements on the anti-encroachment drive has himself or herself encroached upon a Government land, Azad said no one can be stopped from making any statements in a democracy.
Earlier, his party members took out a protest march from the party office at Sonwar and blocked the main road near Sonwar Chowk. They demanded a rollback of the eviction order.