May 2016 News

Omar Abdullah Attacks PDP-BJP Govt Over Sainik Colony In Kashmir

9 May 2016
India Today
Naseer Ganai

Srinagar: While the Jammu and Kashmir government maintains it has no proposal to establish a separate Sainik Colony in Jammu and Kashmir for ex-soldiers, opposition National Conference (NC) working president on Sunday displayed an order of the state home department proposing establishing of a Sainik Colony in Srinagar. The order copy tweeted by the NC working president talks about allotment of 350 kanals (about 18 hectares) to Sainik Colony in Srinagar. The Jammu and Kashmir Home Department, headed by chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on April 11 had sought status of allocation of land for Sainik Colony in Srinagar, summer capital of the state. 'Revised proposal sent to Home Department'. The Home Department is headed by @mehbooba_mufti so who is lying here?,' NC leader Omar Abdullah tweeted. Abdullah said the state government's proposal to allot land in the valley for the proposed Sainik Colony could be a ruse to settle non-state subjects in Kashmir and hence bypass Article 370. The separatists have alleged that setting up a separate (Sainik) colony for retired army men in the valley and settling homeless non-state subjects in Kashmir is a move aimed at 'changing the demography' of the Muslim majority state. They vowed to oppose it. The state government, however, says no land has been allotted or is being allotted anywhere in Kashmir for any housing project in the name of 'Sainik Colony'. 'Like some other sections of the working class and professionals, the ex-servicemen belonging to the state have been demanding land for a housing colony, but no allotment of land for any such project has been made anywhere in the Valley,' state government spokesman Naeem Akhtar said. Akhtar said reports about Sainik Colony were aimed at disturbing peace in the state at a time when tourism and business activity has just started picking up. But now with the copy of the 'proposal' of the home department in hand, the NC is accusing Akhtar, who is also minister for education, of 'deliberately disseminating lies on such a sensitive matter.' NC spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu said there was unambiguous proof that successive PDP-BJP governments headed by late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Mehbooba Mufti were involved in the process of allocating hundreds of kanals of land for the proposed Sainik Colony in Srinagar. 'Official Documents prove it beyond any reasonable doubt that the official process of identification of land for 'Sainik Colony' in Srinagar, from the initial allocation of 173 kanals to the subsequent 350 kanals, was initiated twice in 2015 and 2016. In 2015, Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took oath of office on the 1st of March. The very next month, the Divisional Commissioner in a letter on the 10th of April agreed in principal to provide 173 kanals of land for the proposed 'Sainik Colony' in Srinagar and Budgam Districts. This is not a matter of speculation or hypothesis and is a matter of official record', Mattu said. 'Then more recently after Mehbooba Mufti took over as the Chief Minister of the State with the charge of the Home Department on the 4th of April, 2016, the Home Secretary in an official letter dated the 11th of April sought the status of the allocation of land for the proposed Sainik Colony from the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and the concerned District Development Commissioners. This too, is a matter of official record', he added. The NC spokesperson said both these official communications prove that Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and his daughter Mehbooba Mufti were actively and directly involved not only as heads of government but also as successive home ministers of the state in the formal process of land allocation for 'Sainik Colony' in Srinagar. 'Inspite of these proofs and facts, the state government spokesperson and cabinet minister Naeem Akhtar has denied the fact that two successive state governments headed by the PDP have been regularly seeking the status of land allocation for the 'Sainik colony',' the NC said. 'Is the state government trying to cover up PDP's tacit understanding with its alliance partner on this sensitive issue or is this a compromise PDP had agreed to make to pave way for Mufti Sahab and then Mehbooba Mufti to occupy the Chief Minister's chair?', the NC spokesperson said.