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Kashmir government initiates Anti-militancy laws against land mafia


Dec 28, 2006:

Srinagar- Taking a strong action against the land mafia, Kashmir government has initiated Public Safety Act (PSA)-the law usually reserved for insurgents-against the people involved in land grabbing incidents.

During the last 17 years of insurgency land grabbing has gained enormous proportions in Indian administered Kashmir. According to government estimates the land mafia, both in organised and unorganised sector have illegally taken hold of 162,500 acres of land in the entire state. The value of this land runs into billions of rupees and the government has pledged to retrieve every inch of it.

The government has started taking strict and stringent measures to eliminate menace of land grabbing. In this connection, Public Safety Act was invoked against one land grabber who now stands arrested under the Act in winter capital Jammu today. It is pertinent to mention that the PSA is usually reserved for the hardened militants involved in violent insurgent activities.

Meanwhile Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad during a press conference said that those land grabbers who have grabbed state land and sold to others would be liable for criminal action under law.

Government has also imposed ban on construction of any illegal structure in various ponds, canals, streams and river banks, which are usually the favourite spots for land mafia. The revenue machinery has been pressed into action to identify land grabbers so that action against them is taken under law.

Although the government has started campaign against the land grabber with much fanfare but till date it has succeeded in retrieving just 43.75 acres of land in Birpur, Patoli and Chowadi areas of Jammu, winter capital of the state.

The real estate is one of the few sectors in the state’s economy, which has been flourishing ever since the insurgency erupted in the state. Most of the Kashmir analysts feel pessimistic about the government claims to retrieve the encroached land, as the land mafia has strong political and bureaucratic backing, because of the huge money involved.- INF

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