SRINAGAR — Amid the ongoing eviction drive in Jammu and Kashmir, People Conference president Sajad Lone Saturday wrote a letter to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha urging him to issue a formal and unambiguous order, which spares the poor and makes a distinction between possession borne out of necessity and possession borne out of land grab.
In the letter, Lone stated there have been voices across social and political spectrum to spare the poorer sections over government’s drive to retrieve state and grazing land.
“I am taking the liberty of writing to you about the government’s drive to retrieve state land and grazing land under the possession of private people. There have been voices across the social and political spectrum to spare the poorer sections of the society. We too have tried to raise awareness about the actual composition of the unlawful possession of the state land and unambiguously advocate that the poor should be spared,” reads the letter.
It reads the possession in the rural areas is borne out of necessity and this is a practice which has gone on unhindered for decades.
“And no government ever challenged it because it made J&K a unique state, where there is almost negligible homelessness. The vast majority of possession in the rural areas comprises of small land holdings, with a small humble house made by the owners.”
It reads these small holdings are scattered and they will be of no use to the government, but will make a poor family homeless.
“You have been very gracious in announcing that the poor will not be touched. But in the absence of a formal order, it is the poor who are being touched. I am writing to request you to issue a formal, unambiguous order, which spares the poor and makes a distinction between possession borne out of necessity and possession borne out of land grab.”
It further reads in the absence of a clear order there are reports of bullying and of course corrupt practices.
“May I add that possession without ownership papers has all along been susceptible to blackmailing fordecades. These poor souls have all along been bullied into paying bribes for not having the ownership papers. You have a chance of a lifetime to end all the blackmailing and give these poorest sections of society a chance to live a life of dignity with no fear of bullying or blackmailing.”
Lone said he would strongly advocate that a policy be framed wherein the government defines a criteria for identifying the poor and vests them with ownership rights.
“I would say history is waiting to be made. Let us hope and pray that you are able to seize the opportunity and make history for the poorest sections of the society. If you do so, it would be distinctively remembered as a historical milestone and a supreme act of statesmanship,” it reads. — (KNO)