Outer wall of former bureaucrat’s house demolished in Srinagar
Outer wall of former bureaucrat’s house demolished in Srinagar

Jammu and Kashmir High Court has passed an order to the administration “to retrieve state land from all those who have encroached the different type government lands”. This order has recently created a panic situation among common masses in both Jammu and Kashmir, fearing that the administration could take their lands by demolishing the structures constructed on them.

The UT administration has made it clear that all those influential and powerful actors who have misused their power to grab large chunks of state land are under the radar and not the common masses. However, even after the assurance given by the administration, people are protesting against it.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha alongside his cabinet including Chief Secretary Arun Kumar, Sunil Sharma, Ravinder Raina and other party members assured that no action will be taken against those people who are poor and have constructed their homes and residential places out of necessity and have no other place to settle. In addition, he also assured that the administration is actively trying to frame a policy through which the homes and colonies are regularized through proper procedure.

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The major concern of people right now is how much land the UT administration will provide to poor people. BJP leader Sunil Sharma, while addressing different media platforms said, “Anyone who has constructed his house on state land ranging from 5-15 marla will be exempted from the land eviction drive currently going on.”

Meanwhile, the protesting bodies claim that the administration shall issue a formal order in black and white, stating that poor people will be given relief in this drive. Many ex-politicians including MPs have also spoken to Lieutenant Governor regarding this issue, and all the people have been given due assurance. Former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad met the union home minister and raised the same issue with them.

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Given that there are currently hundreds of thousands of people who are living on these state lands, it is important that government must adopt a humanitarian approach while addressing this issue and frame a policy through which poor and common masses are given relief through regularization.

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