Anantnag: Senior Congress leader and former leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad Sunday said snatching land from poor people following the annulment of the Jammu and Kashmir Roshni Act was “sheer injustice”.
“We passed the act to benefit the poor people who had for decades barely 2 or 3 kanal state land in their possession. Now they are being dispossessed of their ownership rights. Even the Khacharia and Shamilat land where people have their houses or are under cultivation are being snatched,” he said addressing a rally in Kokernag areas of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Azad said that those, who were passing these unconstitutional laws, were unaware of the history and geography of J&K.
“Seventy years back, J&K had a population of 30 lakh and since then it has increased four times. Now we have a population of around 1.25 crore population with merely 15 percent land for habitations, roads, government buildings, and under cultivation. The rest is mountains, forests, and water. So, where will people go?” he said. “If some officer has illegally transferred land to his relative or rich and influential, punish him but why harass the poor. This is sheer injustice.”
Azad said that 32 years of militancy had plunged J&K into poverty, unemployment, misery and the unconstitutional steps were adding insult to their injuries.
“This land is valuable only when you have a prosperous population,” he said.
Azad emphasised upon the people to not get swayed by emotions and always chose representatives who have a pragmatic approach.
“You should never choose the leaders who show you heavens But use your brains and see what is practically possible or what is not,” he said.
Without naming Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Azad said, “In 2014 assembly polls, you chose a party which made tall promises. They forged an alliance and today they are nowhere.”
He said once alliance partners (PDP and BJP) were now baying for each other’s blood.
Azad asked people to not repeat the same mistake.
“The leaders who promise you what is not possible are only misleading you,” he said.
Azad reminded people of the achievements during his tenure as chief minister from 2006 to 2008.
“We did more than what we had promised. The creation of districts and tehsils, construction of hospitals, and triple shift in work hours was something we did without making noise before coming to power,” he said.
Azad reiterated that for J&K to function smoothly statehood needed to be restored, land and job rights safeguarded, elections held, and have an assembly in place.
“Whether you have to fight militancy, unemployment, or poverty, the assembly is a must. Bureaucracy has its role but it can’t supersede legislature,” he said.
Azad said people had lost confidence in democracy and that needs to be restored by leaders by reaching out to them.