The infamous Roshni Act passed by the separatist forces in Jammu & Kashmir is finally heading towards its ultimate end as the LG prepares to weed out the last remnants of the act. Three weeks after the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) High Court had decreed the Roshni Act as unconstitutional and unsustainable, the Union Territory’s administration yesterday ordered the issued orders to annul all mutations and called Principal Secretary (Revenue) to work out a plan to evict the encroachers from all such lands and to complete the retrieval exercise within a span of six months.
“It is hereby ordered that the Principal Secretary to Government, Revenue Department, shall pass an order declaring all actions taken under the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, as amended from time to time, and rules made there under as void ab-initio,” stated an order issued by the Jammu and Kashmir Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs
Aimed at ‘conferring 20.55 kanals of state land to the occupants,’ the Roshni Act was implemented in 2001 by Ghulam Nabi Azad, the then CM of the state. The Act, as per the then government’s claims, was aimed at generating resources for power projects and to confer proprietary rights to occupants of state land subject to payment of land cost fixed by the government.
However, as later investigated and accused by lawyer Ankur Dharma, advocate and chairman of Ikjutt Jammu, the Roshni Act was actually an attempt to change the demographics of the entire region.
At the forefront, it is also relevant to mention here that between the 2001 and 2011 Census, there has been a sharp alteration in the demographics of the Jammu region- while the Muslim population has risen from around 30 per cent to around 33 per cent, the Hindu population has allegedly declined proportionately from around 65 to 62 per cent.
According to Zee News, 25,000 people were settled in Jammu under the provisions of this legislation, while only 5,000 were settled in the Kashmir region of the erstwhile state. Of the 25,000 illegal occupants who benefitted from the Roshni Act in the Jammu region, about 90 percent were Muslims. This was therefore clearly a State-sponsored attempt at Islamising and radicalizing the Jammu region of the Union Territory.
During the days of the Mehbooba Mufti regime in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir, there were also concerns about illegal Rohingya immigrants being settled down in the Jammu region of the Union Territory.
The Roshni Act was stayed by the Jammu & Kashmir High Court and later in 2018, the Act was repealed by the government of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir, after imposition of the President’s rule in the state. All pending proceedings under the Act were also canceled with immediate effect. The Rs 25,000 crore land scam carried out with misuse of the Roshni Act- the biggest scam in the history of Jammu & Kashmir first came to the limelight in the year 2014 when it was unraveled by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
Roshni Act was Land Jihad in its purest form and when some television channels had called the act by a similar name, the left-liberal cabal had lost all its calm and gone berserk. The LG bringing the final telling blow to the Act and its beneficiaries is one of the biggest steps taken in the state after the abrogation of Article 370.