Expressing deep concern over "efforts of the state administration to bulldoze colonies in Muslim dominated areas" in Jammu division, the AwamiItihad Party president Er Rasheed Saturday condemned "the so-called anti-encouragement drive" in BeliChadana area in the winter capital. In a statement, Rasheed said the way the authorities early in the morning "raided BeliChadana locality and tried to demolish the houses of inhabitants is condemnable."
He said the government should never be "selective" and "communal" in its approach.
"There is no justification for shelling and lathi-charge on innocent inhabitants. One should not forget that their ancestors have been either massacred in 1947 or were forced to flee to Pakistan, leaving their huge properties here, which were later occupied by people of other communities."
He said: "On 3rd of February this year, the state assembly was told that there are 21 unauthorised colonies in Jammu city but one has a right to ask why only Muslim dominated colonies are being targeted?"
"Not even a single unauthorised colony of other community is being disturbed. There are thousands of non-state subjects residing in Qasim Nagar, Bhagwati Nagar, Talab Tulu, Trikoota Nagar, Gandhi Nagar, ChanniHimant and various other places but no one speaks about them," Rasheed said, adding that a "phobia is being created about few families of Rohingiya Muslims and Gujjars who are the original state subjects of Jammu".
"Unfortunately Shiv Senha and BJP have been constantly indulging in propaganda against the Muslim population in BeliChadana and NikiTawi and the state administration is providing these forces all the logistic and other support to implement their polarised and communal agenda," he alleged.
"Everyone knows that Congress leader Raman Bhala has facilitated settlement of thousands of non-state subject families only to strengthen his vote bank and they have managed all necessary documents including ration cards and Aadhaar Cards, but no one talks about that grave issue," the statement said.
Rasheed urged governor Satya Pal Malik to immediately intervene and "stop the situation from getting polarised."
He said the governor "must direct authorities not to treat the local population like occupants."
Meanwhile, he demanded a whitepaper from the government to let people know "how many illegal occupants are living in Jammu province and how they (have) managed to become state subjects".
Rasheed said the government is duty-bound to rehabilitate the landless Gujjars and people of other tribes and communities as "they are the state subjects, not any invaders."