Srinagar: The government on Saturday admitted that retired soldiers in J&K have been demanding a residential colony, but the government had not allotted the land for such a colony and would not do so in future.
Education minister and government spokesperson Naeem Akhtar said, “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.”
Kashmir Reader had in August last year reported that a governor NN Vohra had cleared Rajya Sainik Board’s proposal for a Sainik Colony on the outskirts of Srinagar at a meeting chaired by him on 16 April 2015. (KR has documents of the meeting).
At the meeting, RSB secretary Brig (Retd) RS Langeh had informed the official members of the Board, including former J&K chief secretary Iqbal Khandey, that divisional commissioner Kashmir had agreed to allot 173 kanals of land on payment basis in old airfield area.
“Accordingly the case was taken up with state Home department. However, after obtaining written permission from beneficiaries, the number of aspirants increased to 26 officers, 125 JCOs and 900 others requiring a total of 350 kanals land. Accordingly a revised proposal has been forwarded to divisional commissioner Kashmir and state Home department,” the documents quote Langeh as saying this during the meeting.
Last month Home department asked deputy commissioners of Srinagar and Budgam, to “furnish the requisite information about the colony along with comments/remarks at an earliest. (KR has accessed a copy of the reminder sent by the Home department).
Deputy Commissioner Budgam Mir Altaf corroborated Kashmir Reader’s, saying the Home department had asked for land for Sainik Colony.
“We have told them that we have no land available in the district. We have already closed this chapter,” he said.
However, Akhter said the reports were “highly motivated and parochial”.
Akhter’s statement makes no mention of the governor’s meeting and the proposal made by the Rajya Sainik Board. It merely says that the government has not allotted land for the Colony. No news report published about the proposed Sainik Colony claims that the government has allotted land. They only said that a proposal has been sent to the Home department, which has sent a reminder to the deputy commissioners concerned.
The issue of Sainik Colony is more serious than Amarnath Shrine Board land transfer. The people will suffer more if this plan is implemented. It is not a simple issue but aimed at killing the entire Kashmiri nation. Any carelessness will prove a final nail in the coffin of our existence. We will become strangers in our own land.
Syed Ali Geelani, Hurriyat (G) chairman
The proposed Sainik Colony could be a ruse to settle non-state subjects in Kashmir and hence bypass Article 370. The government should clear whether it is not trying to re-enact the 2008 turmoil when the PDP-Congress government allocated 800 kanals of land to Amarnath Shrine Board. From denying that land is being provided to the ‘Sainik Colony’ to the administration officially writing to concerned officers to identify land for the colony, the PDP-BJP government has come a full circle. Considering their track record over the past more than a year, people have serious apprehensions and rightly so.
Omar Abdullah, former CM
The government should stop playing with fire and refrain from anti-Kashmiri acts. Kashmiris are closely watching these Israeli type anti-Kashmiri moves by so-called rulers and if these anti-Kashmiri, anti-Muslim moves are not stopped immediately, Kashmiris will have no choice but to launch an agitation against it. The army has already occupied lakhs of kanals of land and now they are trying to grab more in the name of so-called residential colonies.
Yasin Malik, JKLF chief
We strongly warn the government against the implementation of these treacherous and illegitimate plans which are aimed at legitimizing the illegal settlements. It is a move to ‘Hinduise’ Kashmir and Balkanise the Valley on communal lines.
Mian Qayoom, president J&K Bar Association