CM Mehbooba Mufti denies land allotment for Sainik Colonies, Opposition steps up attack

On the first day of assuming office in Srinagar, the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, said on Monday that the demand for raising a cluster of ‘Sainik colonies,’ inside the Kashmir valley, was raised by the state subjects, who are serving in the armed forces, but has not been fulfilled so far.

“It was a demand made by the state subjects, however, their demand is yet to be fulfilled. No land has been allotted for the Sainik Colonies,” Mehbooba told reporters, on the sidelines of a function held on the opening day of Darbar in Srinagar.

The state government led by the PDP-BJP coalition government had recently sent a fresh reminder to deputy commissioners of Srinagar and Budgam for expediting the process of identifying the land for the proposed colonies on the outskirts of Srinagar, the capital, this had raked a fresh controversy in the state.

Governor NN Vohra approved a proposal for setting up of a cluster of residential houses for serving and ex-servicemen, when the idea was floated by Rajya Sainik Board (RSB) in 2012. When the state came under governors rule, Vohra who heads the board, had fast tracked the process for granting of state land for the ‘Sainik colony,’ early this year.

Mehbooba Mufti. File photo. AFP

Mehbooba Mufti. File photo. AFP

Mehbooba said that vested elements were trying to use the issue for the destabilizing the state, and hit out at former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for being a “rumour monger,” and said that the NC president was trying to vitiate the atmosphere of the state by uploading “fake pictures on social media.”

Mehbooba clarified that the establishment of the “Sainik colonies” had nothing to do with the non-state subjects.

The state government had come under harsh criticism from the Opposition and Hurriyat Conference for ‘granting the land for these colonies’ in Kashmir. The proposal for setting up the colonies does not mention if the residential blocks would be only given to state subjects or non-state subjects too. This stoked a huge political uproar in valley with both the Opposition and Hurriyat Conference attacking the state government for working against the interests of the state.

National Conference working president, Omar Abdullah had said that State governments go ahead for allocating hundreds of Kanals of land in the Valley for a proposed ‘Sainik Colony’ could be a ‘ruse to settle non-State-subjects’ in Kashmir and hence bypass Article 370.

Abdullah, who was addressing party leaders in north Kashmir’s Baramulla town on Saturday, said there are “glaring contradictions on the Sainik Colony proposal”

“From denying that land is being provided to the ‘Sainik Colony’ to the administration officially writing to concerned officers to identify land for the colony, the PDP-BJP Government of Mehbooba Mufti has come a full circle. The Chief Minister continues to be vague on this issue and it seems has been implicitly ordered to not interfere in this matter,” Abdullah, told the gathering.

“Is the Mehbooba Mufti Government trying to re-enact the 2008 turmoil where a PDP Government set the state on fire in violating the state’s special status by giving away hundreds of Kanals of land to the Shrine Board in violation of legal norms, Article 370 and various inviolable constitutional provisions? There seems to be an uncanny similarity between what PDP did in 2008 and what the PDP-BJP Government is trying to do today with the ‘Sainik Colony’ proposal,” he added.

The separatists had threatened to launch a 2010 like agitation against the move to provide the land for the Sanik colony.

“There is no legal or moral justification in settling the former Indian army men in Kashmir, and it was an open aggression and hooliganism. To counter this aggression, Hurriyat Conference will formulate a strategy to gather a national consensus on this issue,” Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani said.

The octogenarian Hurriyat Conference leader said the Jammu & Kashmir state has its own constitution and this constitution also does not permit any non-local to settle here.

“The establishment of the Sainik Colonies is not only a dangerous plot to influence the disputed nature of Jammu & Kashmir but it is also a deliberate attempt to end the special status of this state.” He added.

Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, a lone Communist MLA, too opposed the move saying the proposal needs to be vehemently opposed.

“Since the plan in a way envisages to settle the non-permanent resident retired army men in J&K, it amounts to virtual scraping of the state’s special status covertly,” Tarigami said.

“One is constrained to infer that this motivated move may be the hidden item of the agenda of the alliance. It is our party’s considered opinion that the move will further complicate the Kashmir imbroglio and the efforts to resolve it would be seriously jeopardized,” he said.

Updated Date: May 09, 2016 15:46 PM

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