Alternative way to look at it

People should not be deprived of their shelters
Government officials during an anti-encroachment drive in Srinagar [Representative picture]
Government officials during an anti-encroachment drive in Srinagar [Representative picture] GK PHOTO

The recent  statement  made by the lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha  that common masses and poor people would not be touched during the ongoing drive launched by the administration to retrieve the state land from encroachers, followed by the Honorable Supreme court direction that no houses shall be dismantled has brought some relief to the depressed people of Jammu and Kashmir.   

Although in the verbal statements the administration has been claiming that this drive is not against the poor and lower middle class people, who have encroached small portions of land, and on it raised their shelter, but it is for those encroachers who have allegedly occupied huge parcels of the state land in posh areas of the UT’s major cities and towns.     

In fact, on the ground it is yet to be seen, would this drive be against the big land grabbers, as the impression is ent out,  or would it be as usual used by the local administration  to deprive the poor and lower middle class people of their shelters. 

Indeed,   people were very much afraid and disturbed and feared that perhaps the UT of Jammu and Kashmir is going the Utter Pradesh way where few years back several houses were bulldozed to curb the violence there.    

Some years back videos pouring from Utter Pradesh have been quite disturbing where protestors were seen pelting stones and damaging public prosperities, and state imposed a law to bulldoze the homes of the culprits involved in stone pelting and communal riots.  Since, to cheek the violence, several of homes were bulldozed there, and a number of poor families were left homeless. 

One of the videos, of  a girl student activist of Allahabad, was  quite  disturbing. It was shared on various social networking sites. It was about the bulldozing of her ancestral house  in his home town of Allahabad.

Although, in her post she was seen not shedding a single tear when his house was being bulldozed,  but  the people who  then watched this video  could  not control  their  tears.

The demolishing of structures means demolishing homes, which a compassioante state can never think of.  Even in major nation level wars and conflicts people’s homes are not targeted.

Bread and shelter are the basic human necessities which constitute fundamental right of people livening in any civilized society.  In a civilized society you can not deprive any one of this fundamental right.  You can not destroy any built up house of any poor families. 

Of course you cannot allow any one to build any structure on any notified land. But if any house has already been built, things are dealt with differently.

On the other hand  since the land records had not been made public and our villagers had no information about the notified state lands as such they had been raising their small shelters and cultivating it without any knowledge. 

Now when you have notified it and made it public you can easily cheek its encroachments if made on such lands hereafter.

At the same time little encroachments made on such lands earlier in absence of  any information and knowledge  shall not be treated as illegal encroachments.

At a number of places it has now turned into a question of bread and shelter for our poor farmers, where human families of this land are living; a civilized law would not allow you to disturb them.

I still remember, few years back, an interview of one girl  whose house  was bulldozed . Her words that  “our memories were deeply rooted on our home….....; it was our space where we had lot of fun.  Our mother was found  of plants, she has five hundred plants grown in  various parts. I saw plants crumbling  down.” 

In fact one should know that humanity is the core of any religion, and law. Humanity does not allow such a thing as bulldozing of homes. These are human shelters. 

Indeed your roads, railway lines, office complexes, bridges, hospitals, schools, colleges, universities, even religious places,   would not serve any purpose when your people are homeless and jobless.    

Technically speaking these are called houses, but they are homes, sweet homes, which provide shelter to human families. 

In the modern civilized societies providing shelters and work to the subjects was also made mandatory and has been incorporated in constitutions of the democratic world.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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