Small land holders will not be harassed in J&K: Shah to Azad

Former CM meets HM on eviction drive

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 2: Union Home Minister Amit Shah today assured former Chief Minister and Democratic Azad Party (DAP) chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad that small land holders will not be harassed during ongoing anti-encroachment drive in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Shah reportedly gave this assurance to Azad when he called on him in New Delhi today to express concerns over ongoing demolition drive against encroachments.
A statement released by the Democratic Azad Party said Azad sought intervention of Shah against the ongoing land eviction drive in Jammu and Kashmir, where aggrieved people continued their protests at different places.
Azad apprised the Union Home Minister about “serious unrest and uncertainty” prevailing among the public at large in Jammu and Kashmir due to the eviction drive launched by the administration to remove encroachments on state land including Roshni and Kahcharai, the DAP statement said.
Azad said the origin of these shelters/residential houses on State/Kahcharai and Roshni land appears to have taken place first in 1947 and then in 1962 and 1971 ward period, and subsequently during the post-militancy time.
The DAP statement said the former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir requested the Home Minister that the majority of occupants who are holding small lands and have constructed houses for the last few decades are migrants and are mostly victims of militancy, as well as victims of abnormal situations arising from time to time, being a border state.
“This is also a fact that the Governments provided road connectivity, supply of water and electricity, schools, Anganwadi centres and other welfare schemes including health-related facilities to these houses from time to time which implicitly indicates that successive State Governments in a way have recognized these constructions,” Azad said.
It said Azad requested the Home Minister that at least poor people having small holdings of land and houses should be spared from the eviction drive.
“The Home Minister assured Azad that small land holders will not be harassed,” the statement said.
It is worthwhile to mention here that two weeks before, Azad had taken up the same issue with Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha also, who too had assured to do the needful with cogent land policy for small land holders sympathetically, the statement said.