Srinagar, Feb. 10: As the authorities have launched a massive eviction drive against the influential land grabbers across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the majority of people on Friday welcomed the government’s move and stated that no poor man’s land was retrieved or any house was demolished by the authorities.
On February 3, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said only influential and powerful people who misused their position and violated the law to encroach upon the state's land would face the law of the land at all.
"Only influential and powerful people who misused their position and violated the law to encroach upon the state's land would face the law of the land," he added.
The LG also said that only those who have grabbed land illegally through unfair means are facing eviction. "I have personally directed the DCs and SSPs to closely monitor and ensure no innocent person is affected in any manner during the anti-encroachment drive," he added.
Rising Kashmir on Friday spoke to many people to know their views about the ongoing eviction drive, and the majority of them welcomed the move while stating that there was very little impact on the poor due to the ongoing eviction drive.
They claimed that the big fish had abused their official positions by grabbing a large chunk of land, and they urged the LG administration to reclaim government land from them.
Shamim Ahmad, a resident of Pulwama, told Rising Kashmir that this drive is a welcome initiative and that those who have looted Kashmir by remaining in power must be held accountable for illegally acquiring land.
He said that the majority of the land in Kashmir is in the hands of a few people and must be returned to them, as well as that strict action must be taken against the grabbers.
Another local from Handwara in north Kashmir, Mudabir Ali, told Rising Kashmir that he is pleased with the ongoing drive.
"Only a few "People in Kashmir own all of the green belts." "If any common man is taking a small piece of land for his residential houses, action is being taken against them, while at the same time the big fish are going unnoticed," he said.
Mudabir said that as promised by the government, the poor wouldn’t be touched. They should also instruct all Kashmir deputy commissioners not to visit any poor man's home.
"It is a good move and should continue till the last inch of state land is retrieved from the land grabbers." "It is one of the biggest eviction drives in the history of UT against the influential," he said.
A social and political activist from Pattan, Baramulla Hamid Rather, told Rising Kashmir that the government must not touch the petty land encroachers and instead evict the big fish who took over the state land under their power.
"I strongly believe that eviction policy, if it makes its objectives clear, has the great potential to emerge as the second wave of agrarian reforms in Jammu and Kashmir after the famous "Land to Tiller Act," he said.
The Land to Tiller Act, on the other hand, failed to relieve the powerful of large land estates, and the powerful were later able to obtain large land estates under this Act.
"The government should rethink the policy and make a vision document public on the use of the retrieved state land from the encroachers," he said.
To put it another way, the influential land grabbers' proclivity to use poor and petty encroachers as a shield to conceal large estate land grabs will fade away.
The common people, while expressing their support for this eviction drive, have stated that officers or politicians have grabbed hundreds of kanals of land at vital locations.
People stated that they (the influential) got a low lease and are earning crores of rupees from this land that they got on a low lease.