Former chief minister and Lok Sabha member Farooq Abdullah.(HT photo)
Former chief minister and Lok Sabha member Farooq Abdullah.(HT photo)

Abdullahs named in J&K land encroachment list

Abdullah, 83, hit back with allegations of political vendetta ahead of elections to district development councils in Jammu & Kashmir. In a clear reference to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre, the National Conference (NC) chief said: “Since elections are around the corner, I think they will dig the graves of others.”
By Ravi Krishnan Khajuria | Hindustan Times, Jammu
UPDATED ON NOV 25, 2020 02:12 AM IST

The Jammu & Kashmir administration on Tuesday made public a voluminous list of beneficiaries of a two-decade-old law under which they allegedly gained proprietary rights to land they had illegally occupied, as well as encroachers on vast swathes of state land, naming former chief minister and Lok Sabha member Farooq Abdullah among the latter.

A total of 1787 beneficiaries including nine encroachers of state land from Jammu district alone have so far been put up on the government website http://divcomjammu.gov.in/# in line with a high court directive , showing Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah as having encroached on seven kanals and seven marlas of state land (once forest land), in Bahu tehsil, village Sunjwan, in Jammu city.

The names of people, including other politicians, businessmen and civil servants figured on the lists. They included former People’s Democratic Party (PDP) minister Haseeb Drabu and family, prominent hotelier Mushtaq Chaya, former bureaucrat Mohammad Shafi Pandit and his wife Nighat Pandit, and former legislator Satpal Lakhotra.

Abdullah, 83, hit back with allegations of political vendetta ahead of elections to district development councils in Jammu & Kashmir. In a clear reference to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre, the National Conference (NC) chief said: “Since elections are around the corner, I think they will dig the graves of others.”

Kamal hai in logon ka (The wonder of these people). They want us to give in, but why should we?. Don’t people in Sunjwan have a right to live . Isn’t the army brigade in Sunjwan on forest land?. It is nothing but purely political vendetta,” he said.

Abdullah said he had not purchased either the land in Jammu or house in Srinagar under the Jammu & Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants), popularly known as the Roshni Act, which the high court has ruled was unconstitutional and unsustainable.

He said: “It is only propaganda against us. I just can’t understand what they want to do? Sunjwan colony was not raised by me.. it was raised long back. Don’t we have the right to live?”

Abdullah did concede that NC’s party headquarters in Raipur village in Jammu south, measuring three kanals and 16 marlas, had been regularised under the Roshni Act at a price of Rs 53,66,501. “We purchased the land under Roshni scheme and we didn’t get any concession like others announced after us. No favours were done to us,” he said.

In New Delhi, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad lashed out at political leaders including Abdullah.

“There was conscious land loot by powerful people of J&K who were getting benefits under the Roshni Act, which was declared unconstitutional by the J&K high court,” Prasad told reporters. “It is very unfortunate that key leaders of Jammu & Kashmir including Farooq Abdullah used their influence and power for land grabbing and appropriated government land.”

The law, popularly referred to as Roshni Act, was passed in 2001 to provide ownership of state land to people who were occupying it after the law was introduced in the budget speech of the previous year by then finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather of the NC. The proceeds of the sales were meant to help in the electrification of the state. In 2005, the PDP government-led by Mufti Mohammed Syed relaxed the cut-off year for the occupants to have the land regularised to 2004. T he Congress government led by Ghulam Nabi Azad in 2007 relaxed the cut-off year to 2007. The original cut-off year had been 1990.

A 2014 Comptroller and Auditor General report found that only 76 crore had been realised from the transfer of encroached lands between 2007 and 2013 against the 25,000 crore target.

In November 2018, then governor Satya Pal Malik cancelled the Act, saying people in positions of power and those with financial resources including bureaucrats, government officials, ministers, legislators, police personnel and businesspersons have “influenced the completely illegal vesting of state land”.

A senior official in the Jammu and Kashmir administration said on condition of anonymity:”The working of the Roshni Act was effected arbitrarily, dishonestly and illegally. There exist glaring instances of state lands being usurped.”

The Central Bureau of Investigation registered cases after the high court last month ordered the federal agency to probe the allocation of land under the law it ruled was unconstitutional and unsustainable. The court also sought a list of beneficiaries.

Revenue department officials have been cancelling mutation orders under the Act in line with a high court order.

“Consequently, a list of 15,000 beneficiaries is being uploaded on the official and the National Informatics Centre website after due step-by-step vetting,” said an official in the Jammu and Kashmir administration.

Drabu, a former finance minister, rubbished the allegation of wrongdoing, saying his grandfather had bought the land in question in 1956 in the name of his mother, who divided it among her children after extending its lease.

“...the land was regularised purely as per the government’s Roshni Act. Where is the scam and what rubbish is this?” asked Drabu, adding that the government should at least make a distinction between a leaseholder and a land grabber.

Former director general of police SP Vaid defended the government’s action, noting it was in line with the high court order. “Some irregularities must have been committed and that’s why LG’s {lieutenant-general’s) government is implementing the high court order. It is perfectly a legal process and it should be taken to its logical conclusion,” he said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
A TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration. (REUTERS)
A TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration. (REUTERS)

India to impose permanent ban on 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok: Report

Reuters, Bengaluru
PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2021 04:56 AM IST
The ministry's June order stated that the apps were "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order".
Close
Abe, Japan’s longest-serving PM, stepped down last August and was the first Japanese PM to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in 2014.(REUTERS)
Abe, Japan’s longest-serving PM, stepped down last August and was the first Japanese PM to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in 2014.(REUTERS)

Govt confers 119 Padma honours

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2021 03:53 AM IST
  • The list of Padma awards also comprised 10 Padma Bhushan and 102 Padma Shri recipients.
Close
During the hearing, senior advocates Parag Tripathi and BH Marlapally, appeared on behalf of the associations of state government officers and other employees.(HT Archive)
During the hearing, senior advocates Parag Tripathi and BH Marlapally, appeared on behalf of the associations of state government officers and other employees.(HT Archive)

SC rejects Andhra govt plea to defer local polls

By Utkarsh Anand, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2021 03:10 AM IST
  • On January 8, state election commissioner N Ramesh Kumar released the schedule for elections to be held in four phases
Close
Farmers participate in a tractor rally to protest against the newly passed farm bills, on a highway on the outskirts of New Delhi (REUTERS)
Farmers participate in a tractor rally to protest against the newly passed farm bills, on a highway on the outskirts of New Delhi (REUTERS)

Stage set for mega tractor rally; Parliament march on Feb 1

By Zia Haq, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2021 01:01 AM IST
  • The police say about 30,000 tractors are likely to participate in the rally, but farm leaders said the number of vehicles will be closer to 200,000.
Close
A SSB personnel on alert at Rajpath near India Gate on the eve of Republic Day, in New Delhi(Sanjeev Verma/ Hindustan Times)
A SSB personnel on alert at Rajpath near India Gate on the eve of Republic Day, in New Delhi(Sanjeev Verma/ Hindustan Times)

Republic Day 2021: List of police personnel who received gallantry medals

By hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2021 12:11 AM IST
  • The break-up of 946 police personnel who have been awarded medals on the occasion of the Republic Day, 2021.
Close
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the Climate Adaptation summit in the Netherlands via video conferencing. (ANI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the Climate Adaptation summit in the Netherlands via video conferencing. (ANI)

'Change lifestyle to adapt to climate change': PM Modi

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 11:59 PM IST
  • "We have promised ourselves that we will not just meet our Paris Agreement targets but exceed them...” PM Modi said.
Close
A note by the Lokayukta suggested “unpleasant circumstances” and “hostile environment” as the reason to quit forthwith but “upon dismissal of writ petition (by Nagaland government)” by the Supreme Court..(HT PHOTO)
A note by the Lokayukta suggested “unpleasant circumstances” and “hostile environment” as the reason to quit forthwith but “upon dismissal of writ petition (by Nagaland government)” by the Supreme Court..(HT PHOTO)

Willing to resign, Nagaland Lokayukta tells SC, seeks protection from state

By Abraham Thomas
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 11:55 PM IST
  • The Nagaland government had come to the Supreme Court in exceptional circumstances for orders to restrain the sitting Lokayukta from hearing any case or exercising his powers or functions under the Nagaland Lokayukta Act, 2017.
Close
The chief minister said the state government was announcing the ex gratia in honour of the bravery shown by Col Santosh Babu while fighting the Chinese troops.(HT PHOTO.)
The chief minister said the state government was announcing the ex gratia in honour of the bravery shown by Col Santosh Babu while fighting the Chinese troops.(HT PHOTO.)

He deserved top medal: Col Santosh Babu's kin disappointed with Maha Vir Chakra

By Srinivasa Rao Apparasu | Edited by Sparshita Saxena, Hyderabad
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 11:42 PM IST
  • His mother said she was not at all happy to receive the news that her son was conferred Maha Vir Chakra. “I expected the top medal, not this,” she said.
Close
Representative Photo(PTI )
Representative Photo(PTI )

Republic Day 2021: Govt announces gallantry award winners. Full list here

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 11:07 PM IST
The wartime Chakra series awards include highest Paramvir Chakra, Mahavir Chakra and Vir Chakra. The peacetime highest gallantry awards include Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra.
Close
President Ram Nath Kovind addresses to the nation on the eve of 72nd Republic Day, in New Delhi. (ANI Photo)
President Ram Nath Kovind addresses to the nation on the eve of 72nd Republic Day, in New Delhi. (ANI Photo)

'India foiled expansionist move in Ladakh': President's veiled dig at China 

ANI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:58 PM IST
The President said that soldiers of the armed forces ensure security of our national boundaries amid severest conditions including in Galwan Valley and Siachen.
Close
"Our national interest will be protected at all costs," the President declared in his address to the nation on the eve of the 72nd Republic Day.(ANI Photo)
"Our national interest will be protected at all costs," the President declared in his address to the nation on the eve of the 72nd Republic Day.(ANI Photo)

President Kovind says Indian armed forces 'adequately mobilised'

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:57 PM IST
President Ram Nath Kovind's remarks came amid the nearly nine-month-long military standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.
Close
ITBP personnel during the full dress rehearsal for the upcoming Republic Day Parade, in New Delhi. (ANI)
ITBP personnel during the full dress rehearsal for the upcoming Republic Day Parade, in New Delhi. (ANI)

Attending Republic Day ceremony in Delhi compulsory, Govt tells officers

PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:57 PM IST
  • In a letter sent to all government ministries and departments Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba warned "that serious view would be taken" against those who fail to attend the ceremony despite invitations
Close
Covid-19 vaccination at a government hospital.(AP)
Covid-19 vaccination at a government hospital.(AP)

Odisha meets over 92% of Covid-19 vaccination target, leads among all states

By Debabrata Mohanty | Edited by Sparshita Saxena, Bhubaneswar
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:54 PM IST
  • Of the 1.92 lakh beneficiaries that were to be vaccinated till January 25, the state has covered 1.77 lakh.
Close
Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi passed away on Monday.(Photo: INCIndia/ Twitter)
Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi passed away on Monday.(Photo: INCIndia/ Twitter)

Republic Day 2021: Tarun Gogoi, Ram Vilas Paswan among 10 Padma Bhushan awardees

Written by Prashasti Singh
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:55 PM IST
Prominent Shia preacher and scholar Shri Kalbe Sadiq was the third person to have received the award posthumously this year.
Close
A security personnel keeps vigil at Rajpath on the eve of the Republic Day parade, in New Delhi.(PTI)
A security personnel keeps vigil at Rajpath on the eve of the Republic Day parade, in New Delhi.(PTI)

Senior officers must attend R-Day event at Rajpath or face action: Govt

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 10:48 PM IST
"You may suitably advise all officers of your ministry/ department, who are invited to the Republic day ceremony at Rajpath, to attend the function," the letter by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba said.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP