Uphold the value of justice

At a time when people are overpowered by the unethical acts, corruption and moral bankruptcy, Karbla stands there as a comprehensive revolutionary ideology that has the potential for societal transformation. As a society or a nation we have totally failed on several fronts. If we want to really reshape ourselves we need to go back and follow the footsteps of salf e sauliheen and revered Imams. Sacrifice of Imam Hussain alaihisalam is a guiding principle for us for not surrendering before the tyrants and the corrupt system. This sacrifice is about upholding the principles of truth, justice and honour.

A crippled society

Our society has become so weak and incapacitated that we are not even ready to fight or struggle for our own personal legitimate rights. We seem to have become crippled as we can’t even speak out for our own-self. We are allowing authorities at the helm to commit legal frauds to occupy our ancestral properties while on the other hand we fight with neighbors and relatives on petty issues. Recently I was having a conversation with a senior college teacher. The professor rang me up some days back in response to my article titled Why deny benefits of central law to affected farmers” (GK August 15th 2020). He had gone through my piece and called me up to tell his tale. The professor was facing a similar problem as explained in the article (forcible land acquisition).

I had written in detail about the injustice being done to as many as 1000 families of Budgam district by Govt that plans to forcibly acquire 3800 kanals of land for Srinagar Semi Ring road project by paying very little compensation to the affected people . The professor told me that his piece of land along with the land of many others is coming under an alignment of some road project in Srinagar outskirts. Instead of making assessment under the new Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act (RFCTLARR Act 2013) which is applicable in J&K post article 370 abrogation, the Government is invoking obsolete and repealed J&K Land Acquisition Act 1934 (samvat 1990) for payment of compensation.

Under central land acquisition law affected people get 3 to 4 times more compensation than the notified Govt rate in rural areas and this is double in urban areas. In addition to it there is provision of rehabilitation and resettlement as well. Right to Fair Compensation law is the only act that could have been beneficial to people of J&K post abrogation of article 370 but it seems Govt wants to deprive people of J&K of this fair compensation law as well.

Section 11 of the J&K’s Land Acquisition Act 1934 (now repealed) has a clear provision that if awards are not made within 2 years from the date of issuance of section 4 notification, Govt has to issue a fresh notification. In case of Professors land and many others as well the notification was issued more than 3 years back and same is the case with affected farmers of Budgam (Ring Road project). In this scenario the fresh notification has to be issued under central act but ,Govt wants to conclude the land acquisition proceedings under the outdated and repealed law and the affected people are silent spectators.

During the negotiation with Government officers which was attended by several affected farmers / landowners, the professor reminded the Revenue Department officers of re-notifying the land acquisition process as the past notification had expired due to efflux of time. He wanted the Govt to pay compensation of land and property to them as per Right to Fair Compensation Law applicable in J&K from Oct 31st 2019. This irritated some officers who are all locals and it seems as if they had to give the compensation out of their salary account.

Instead of supporting this well informed and educated college teacher, the farmers and landowners started criticizing him as to why he raised the issue? Farmers told him they will be arrested and harassed by Government. They looked so scared and horrified after the meeting. This is not the case with these land owners only, but there are hundreds of such instances wherein we don’t even speak out for our legalized and justifiable entitlements. We have become cowards and chicken hearted.

Hussaiyat and Yazidiat

The Battle of Karbala took place in 680 AD after almost 48 years of the death of Prophet Mohammad (SAW). At Karbala there was emergence of two well defined philosophies of truth and falsehood i.e., Hussaniyat and Yazidiyat. Even today after so many centuries we see the philosophy of Yazidiyat in different manifestations. The Yazidiyat continues to suppress the Hussaniyat but unfortunately those who call themselves the followers of Hussain (AS) don’t get united under a single banner. They have been divided and segregated under various factions, sects and groups. The present day Yazidiyat is demonstrated by oppressive regimes, communal forces and their terrorism.

Conclusion

The idea behind giving an illustration regarding forcible land acquisition in Jammu & Kashmir and affected people not able to speak for their rights is actually a message to those people who have become spiritless and cowards. If we can’t even speak out for our own-self how can we fight for the rights of oppressed and disadvantaged? This is a matter of serious concern. If we can’t raise voice even against issues like corruption, mis-governance and environmental degradation, how can we call ourselves the torch bearers of Hussiniyat? The message of Karbala is not constrained by time and space. This message is eternal, as emphasized by the tradition Kullu yawmin Ashura wa kullu ardin Karbala (everyday is Ashura and every land is Karbala). This message is thus not limited to any particular community, sect or group. Let us uphold the values of Hussainiyat which is to stand for justice.

Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat is Founder & Chairman of J&K RTI Movement