Strategic areas: J&K govt. move will turn entire region into a military establishment, say parties

Imran Nabi Dar. Photo: Facebook  

Regional parties, including the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Saturday opposed the amendments made by the administration of Lt. Governor to laws which will allow it to declare any location in J&K as a “strategic area” for building infrastructure for security forces.

Also read:J&K to notify ‘strategic areas’ for speeding up infrastructure development

“A headless dispensation in J&K proposes to put more chunks of land under the control of security forces. The proposed amendments are shocking and an attempt to undermine the civil authority and turn the entire region into a military establishment,” said NC spokesman Imran Nabi Dar.

The NC has expressed apprehensions that the amendments will add to the pool of land under the possession of the Army by cutting on the remaining arable and fertile land tracts available for agriculture activity.

“The strategic importance of J&K is not confined to certain areas; as such the entire region is strategically important. So by that analogy the government will have a free hand to give as much land to security forces to be used by the later for any means, which the proposed amendment is totally ambiguous about. It could be anything ranging from colonies to special deployment of defence equipment,” Mr. Dar said.

The NC spokesman said under the President’s rule, the J&K administration has already given up 243 hectares of forest land for Army and paramilitary use, over 727 hectares of designated forest land was diverted between September 18 and October 21 by the former forest advisory committee (FAC).

“A stroke of pen has our natural resources obliterated, affecting forest wealth, civilian established population and tourist destinations. It’s a part of a long-term agenda of disenfranchising the people of J&K by grabbing their fertile and economically viable land tracts and natural resources,” he said.

A PDP spokesman termed the move ‘disastrous’ and “aimed at changing the demography of J&K”.

“A decision that is directed towards our homes, where even our neighbourhoods could be designated as ‘strategic areas’. This is scarier than the scrapping of special status. It seems we might not be left with enough land even for graveyards. It means no resident of J&K has any power in determining even the basic functions of local government,” said PDP leader Naeem Akhtar.

Sajad Lone’s party Peoples Conference (PC) also objected to the move. “Such moves are meant to alter, unrecognisably, the destiny of the people of Kashmir. Delhi seems to be on a one-way trip to disaster in Kashmir. There will be long term consequences. It’s ironic that in the midst of COVID-19, the administration actually has the time to come up with such measures. Delhi is keen on pushing the Kashmiris to the wall,” PC vice-president Abdul Gani Vakil said.

The Lt. Governor on Friday granted his nod to the proposal of amending the Control of Building Operations Act, 1988 and the J&K Development Act, 1970 to provide for special dispensation for carrying out construction activities in “strategic areas”.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 8:51:04 AM |

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