People protest 'land grab' at Sonamarg

People protest 'land grab' at Sonamarg

The protesters told Greater Kashmir that army has “arbitrarily” encroached hundreds of kanals of their proprietary land near Sonamarg market.

The residents, traders and land owners of Sonamarg Wednesday staged protests against fencing of their land allegedly by the army.

Scores of locals including traders and  land owners  while carrying "Save Sonamarg" banners and placards marched in Kangan market  and staged-sit in outside SDM office Kangan.

The protesters told Greater Kashmir that army has “arbitrarily” encroached hundreds of kanals of their proprietary land near Sonamarg market.

"The forcible occupation of our land in Sonamarg came to light at a time when the people have migrated from the tourist resort due to severe cold as Sonamarg routinely uses to remain shut during winters,” the protesters said.

"Army claims they have taken the land on lease which is completely untrue.  We demand immediate withdrawal of army from our land near Sonamarg market,” they said and alleged that if immediate steps are not taken for the retrieval of the land, they fear that army may in coming years occupy their properties like homes, restaurants and shops as well. 

The locals also alleged that army is increasing its occupation of land in Sonamarg area every year. “Last year also army fenced the truck-yard land comprising at least 100 kanals,” they alleged. 

"Every year the army goes on extending its occupation of land and fencing at the tourist resort locals," they said.

 The protesters threatened massive agitation “if their land is not got evacuated from the army.”

They have appealed Governor NN Vohra to visit Sonamarg for on-the-spot assessment of the latest “encroachment” by the Army.

When contacted DC Ganderbal, Sarmad Hafeez said the district administration has taken up the matter with higher authorities. “I have asked SDM Kangan to visit the area personally to take stock of the situation," he said.