Food Act Anti-people, Roll It Back: Mirwaiz To Govt

18 December 2015
Greater Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: Terming the National Food Security Act as anti-poor and anti-people, the Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday said the government should immediately roll it back and ensure ration distribution as per the previous pattern. He also said the government must come clean about the whereabouts of three missing persons in North Kashmir's Kupwara district because 'we cannot rule out a Machil-type fake encounter.' Addressing Friday gathering at historic Jamia Masjid here, Miwaiz said: 'As if the suppressive measures of the government were not enough, now another law, which is anti-people and anti-poor, is being imposed on the people of Jammu and Kashmir.' 'All of a sudden a new Food Act is being imposed and now people are deprived of even rice in a place known for rice consumption,' Mirwaiz said. 'We reject the new Food Act. The government should roll it back without any further delay and go for ration distribution as per the previous schedule.' He said each ration card holder should get at least 35 kgs of rice as they have been getting so far. 'What will a family do with 5 kgs of rice to each person a month? This is really a sorry state of affairs. We reject the Food Security Act and demand that there should be no delay in rolling it back,' he said. Countering the government with figures, Mirwaiz said the State has 1.35 crore population that includes people living Above Power Line (APL) and also a huge chunk of population living Below Poverty Line (BPL). 'According to the new law, only 95 lakh people are entitled to get the ration while 35 lakh would be completely left out, which is the biggest irony,' he said. 'A huge population is being deprived of ration supply, which is not justified.' He said against the total requirement of 475000 Qtls of ration a month, J&K only gets 325000 Qtls leaving a huge deficit. 'When the government has excluded Ladakh region from this new law, why Kashmiris are being deliberately pushed into it,' he said. Mirwaiz said the government is planning to spend Rs 40 crore on New Year parties and snow festivals at Gulmarg, Pahalgam and other places. 'Instead of organizing such events, it must utilize the same money on buying ration for people as per previous schedule,' he said. He said the tall claims of the government about pumping thousands of crores for development make no sense when a common man is left to starve in the bone-chilling cold. Mirwaiz's opposition to the Food Act comes at a time when people of Kashmir, especially Srinagar residents, are already up in the arms against the proposed new system of ration distribution. Mirwaiz also said the government must come clean about the whereabouts of three missing persons of Kupwara district. 'The family members of the missing persons are in a shock. They claim a Territorial Army man lured the trio on the pretext of jobs and since then there is no clue where the three persons have gone,' he said. 'We fear Machil-like fake encounter. So the Government must trace the missing persons and clear the mystery.' Mirwaiz also castigated the J&K government for 'playing to the tunes of RSS and causing damage to the State's official language Urdu.' Pertinently, the Service Selection Board has removed Urdu language from Patwaris' examination syllabus. 'Urdu is and will always remain J&K's official language. We will oppose any move aimed at causing damage to the State's special status. Targeting Urdu language is yet another move aimed at damaging State's special identity,' Mirwaiz said.