Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said that peace in Jammu and Kashmir could only be retained with unity.
“What has Jammu and Kashmir got when all it wants is employment, better business opportunities and love? Bharatiya Janata Party’s bulldozer! The land which the Kashmiris irrigated with their hard work and love is being snatched from them. Kashmiriyat and peace [in the UT] can only be protected if people here are united and not divided,” Rahul Gandhi said in his tweet in Hindi.
The Wayanad MP’s remarks came amid the ongoing demolition drive in the Union Territory which is being widely opposed by the Opposition there.
The administration of the Union Territory launched an eviction drive against illegal encroachment by ‘big land owners’ and ‘influential’ people and nearly 23,000 hectares have been retrieved during the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in the Jammu division.
On Wednesday, during a protest against the anti-encroachment drive in the UT, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Mehbooba Mufti in the national capital alleged that there is “Gunda Raj” there, after which she was detained by the police here.
“There is ‘gunda raj’ in J-K. It is being destroyed like Afghanistan,” Mufti alleged. Meanwhile, a purported video also surfaced that showed the PDP chief along with the party workers being detained and taken to a police vehicle.
In an earlier tweet, the Party alleged that “The government is at war with the people.”
“This heartless “Homelessness drive” initiated by the LG administration is focused to deposssess the people of J&K,” a PDP tweet said earlier in the month.
“In the garb of ‘reclaiming state land’ from ‘encroachers’. No notices are served and neither do they accept proof of ownership. Simply inhuman & unjust,” Mufti tweeted earlier in the month.
Simultaneously, Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference chief Sajad Lone on February 6 hit out at the administration over the ongoing anti-encroachment drive during his media briefing and said that the drive would only result in more people being rendered homeless.
“We have no objection to the anti-encroachment drive if it is against big landowners. The big landowners will bring their lawyers tomorrow and take back all the encroached land. However, it’s only the poor who are being targeted and left to die,” Lone said in his press briefing.
J-K Democratic Azad Party chief Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday (February 8) hit out at the UT administration over the ongoing anti-encroachment drive saying that at a time when the anger against the Centre’s abrogation of Article 370 and 35A was starting to abate, the admin has itself caused more harm to it with this drive.
Azad claimed his party was the first to protest against the anti-encroachment drive before other Opposition voices in the UT joined in.
“At a time when the anger against the Centre (over the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A) has cooled off slightly and militancy, as well as strikes and stone-pelting has been largely contained, the government, instead of drawing the benefits of these positive outcomes, has brought harm to itself by launching the anti-encroachment drive,” Azad told ANI on Wednesday.
He also said it was in the government’s interest to withdraw eviction notices to maintain law and order in the UT.
“Stone-pelting and agitations have started again. In the interest of public order, it is critically important for the administration to end the anti-encroachment drive and create a conducive ambience for the (Assembly) election,” Azad said.
He informed that his party has already mobilised protests in more than 50 places — district headquarters, subdivision headquarters and Tehsil headquarters in the UT while other parties had yet to come out in protest against the move.
Earlier this month, the Democratic Azad Party chief had called on Union Home Minister Amit Shah to apprise him of ‘eviction issues’ in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on February 6 addressed a press conference and demanded the list of properties to be demolished be put out in the public domain so that people can present their claims.
He further said that there is a way in which evictions should be carried out, the bulldozers were used without the information of the people living in the place.
“We don’t support the illegal occupancy of government land. But there is a way in which evictions should be carried out. We demand that lists of properties to be demolished be put out in the public domain so that people can present their claims,” Omar Abdullah added. (ANI)