The massive anti-encroachment drive launched by the Narendra Modi government in close cooperation with the state’s Lieutenant Governor to protect immovable properties of Kashmiri Pandits and simultaneously end the ‘land jihad’ culture is yielding significant results. According to a PTI report, over 60,000 acres of encroached land has been retrieved in the Union Territory (UT).
RR Bhatnagar, Advisor to the Lt Governor, while addressing a meeting attended by Commissioner Secretary, Revenue, Custodian General, Inspector General Registrations, Jammu and Divisional commissioners remarked that 371901.1 kanals (46,487.6 acres) of state land, 110515.8 kanals (13,814.4 acres) of ‘Kacharai’ (grazing land) and 1314.11 kanal (164.2 acres) of common land has been retrieved from encroachers till date.
The ‘not taking any prisoners’ attitude
In the last few months, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has taken many steps to ease up the investment in the state, including a one-stop portal for regulatory clearances. In August last year, the Lt. Governor had ordered the full implementation of the Immovable Property Act for Kashmiri Pandits.
Showing that the centre was not taking any prisoners, Bhatnagar passed a message to the revenue department, asking it to red flag any instance of new encroachment or re-encroachment. He also asked the department to create a dashboard for continuous and effective monitoring of the removal of encroachments on government land.
In the 1990s, a planned exodus by Islamic terrorists was unleashed on the Kashmiri Hindu population of Kashmir. They were driven out of their ancestral lands while those who stayed were raped or mercilessly killed and their lands encroached by the Islamists.
Snatching the safety cushion of Islamists
The biggest reason why these Islamists in bed with terrorists have been able to go after ordinary Hindus even after the abrogation of article 370 is the illegal encroachment of the land. However, the government is making sure that the safety cushion of such fundamentalists is snatched away.
Moreover, to accelerate the investment in J&K, the UT government, last month, at the real estate summit, pledged an investment worth 18,900 crore rupees. A similar summit is planned to be held in Srinagar in May.
The removal of encroachments is not the first action taken by the centre to bring normalcy and Kashmiri Pandits back to the region. As reported by TFI, Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also making sure that the UT feels like a complete part of India.
In September 2020, the government approved the Jammu and Kashmir Languages Bill 2020 which makes five languages viz. Hindi, Kashmiri, Dogri, English and Urdu—the official language of the region.
Former I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar had said, “We have decided to introduce the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill 2020 in Parliament, under which five languages—Urdu, Hindi, Kashmiri, Dogri and English—will become official languages. This has been done based on demand by the people,”.
The UT, ever since the abrogation of article 370 has seen a slew of reforms. However, taking the encroached lands back has to be right up there in terms of action having a significant impact on the lives of Kashmiri Pandits.