Srinagar, Jan 23: Apni Party President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Monday said that his party will fight tooth and nail to ensure people’s rights are protected in J&K.
He was addressing a press conference here. Referring to the government initiative for the removal of encroachments from the state land across Jammu and Kashmir, Bukhari said, “We know it as a matter of fact that people across the length and breadth of J&K have state/kacharai land in their possession for decades or in some cases for more than a century. Over the years, they have built their houses, shops, and other building structures on this land. I believe that it is not advisable to retrieve this land from their possession all of a sudden.”
Apni Party President said that he is not saying that land grabbers who have occupied hundreds of kanals of land should be exonerated, but in the case of the common people who are mostly underprivileged should not be subjected to injustice on the land retrieval.
He urged the government to provide property rights of the land to the tillers who have land under LB6 with them. “The government’s decision to allow the transfer of land, that has been vested under Agrarian Act is a good step. Land in possession of the tillers under LB6 is a problem area. Such tenants need to given the property rights. The land is in possession of the tenants for more than 60 years but without title,”Bukhari said.
He said that he has been assured that common people will not be made to suffer due to the government’s land retrieval initiative, yet some complaints are pouring in suggesting that even poor people are forced to leave their land in some areas. Bukhari said, “When I recently met with the union Home Minister in New Delhi and the Lieutenant Governor (LG) in J&K, they both assured me that the move of retrieving the state land will not affect the common people.”
Bukhari added, “Yet, we hear the complaints that common people including the underprivileged are forced to leave their land at some places in the Union Territory. I would request the government that all this must be stopped, and people should not be subjected to injustice.”
Taking a dig at the officials, Apni Party President said, “Unfortunately, in the land retrieval process some of the bureaucrats are trying to behave more loyal than the king. I would request these officials not to harass common people in the name of land retrieval.”
Bukhari assured that Apni Party will stand by the common people and will ensure their rights are protected. He said, “We are from the people, and we will always stay with them through thick and thin. We know that certain things have happened that need to be fixed. I assure you that once we are mandated in the elections, we will make sure that all the matters pertaining to the state are solved through democratic means and as per the wishes of the people.”
He added, “People from the Valley and Jammu are united on this issue of land. They will stand by each other to make sure no outsider will be allowed to take even a single inch of land from the UT.”
Ensuring that Apni Party is already in process of taking up crucial matters with the Union governments and the LG administration. He said, “We are not sitting idle. We are striving to ensure the rights of the J&K people are protected. It is an undeniable fact that it was the Apni Party that ensured J&K people do not lose their exclusive right to agriculture and jobs here post-August 5, 2019. We made New Delhi announce that only domiciles will have rights on agriculture and jobs here.”
Replying to a question he said there is no way that any outsider could get hold of land in J&K. “We have 88 percent agriculture and seven percent forest land here in J&K. All this land is secured. Out of the remaining five percent land can be provided to outsiders for industrial purposes. And, even this could be changed by the elected government any time in the future,”he said.