May 2016 News

Sainik Colony In J&K: CM Mehbooba Says Not Aware Of Plan, Opp Says 'come Clean'

6 May 2016
The Indian Express
Bashaarat Masood

Srinagar: While Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said that she doesn't have knowledge of any proposal to set up sainik colonies in Kashmir, the Opposition - from the mainstream parties to separatist outfits - has warned that the government will face 'public anger' if it wants to settle serving or retired servicemen who do not belong to the state. 'I don't know which proposal you are talking about,' Mehbooba said Friday when asked whether the PDP-BJP government would go ahead with the proposal to set up sainik colonies in Kashmir. She did not respond when asked about the communication sent to deputy commissioners to identify land. On Friday, The Indian Express had reported that the state government has fast-tracked the proposal to set up sainik colonies and asked deputy commissioners of Srinagar and Budgam to identify land. While officially sticking to the party line - of opposing any sainik settlement for non-state subjects - the PDP did not elaborate on who would be accommodated in these proposed colonies. 'All I will say is, if they (soldiers) are state subjects, they are entitled to it; if they are not state subjects (or from outside J&K), they are not entitled to it,' said party's chief spokesman Mehboob Beig. The state BJP kept up the same line. 'We have a state subject law and if any state subject wants (to settle) there should be no problem, irrespective of whether he is a soldier, a policeman or a civilian,' Deputy CM and BJP leader Nirmal Singh said. 'If Mehboobaji has agreed to it, she is encroaching into Article 370people won't accept it,' Congress state president G A Mir said. Nasir Aslam Wani, provincial president of NC, said: 'The government must come clean and explain who it is setting up these colonies for.' Alleging that it is 'part of Indian design to change the state's demography', Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of the hardline Syed Ali Shah Geelani-led Hurriyat said: 'We will oppose it and launch a people's movement.' Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said, 'It is now becoming clear that they (Centre) want to push non-state subjects to change demography of the state.'