Roshni Land Scam: Why review of judgement?

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Bharat Bhushan

It is no use repeating, it is now established, that your esteemed daily has always cared more for unbiased reporting and has also received all-round attention for reporting the material related to The J&K State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the occupants) ACT, 2001 (Repeal and savings Act 2018 as amended in 2007 (known as Roshni Scheme) after the 9th Oct order of J&K HC. J&K HC has directed CBI for investigations into the state lands of which ownership has been given to private
parties, particularly the cases already registered.
It has been learnt through media on 7th Dec that Jammu and Kashmir administration has sought a review of October 9 J&K High Court judgment that had declared the 2001 J&K State Land (Vesting of Ownership to Occupants) Act (Roshni Act) null and void. The HC Judgement has even held the Governor’s Act of 2018 which had though undone the Act of 2001 but had not quashed the sanctions already made under the Act except the irregularities that may be there. Divisional Commissioners of Jammu and Kashmir are putting on their websites cases in proper format since 23 -11-2020 in 4 categories [Proforma A = Approved & Mutation attested thereafter; Proforma B = Approved but Mutation not attested; Proforma C= State land encroachment (recorded in revenue records ,other than Roshni); Proforma D = State land encroachment(Physically) but not shown in Revenue records(other than Roshni)].No doubt all lists have not been made public yet. But the lists that have come out by 7th December have shown that most of the lands that were given free are in the areas falling in Jammu region.
It is also revealed that a large quantum of lands that were encroached had not been cleared for transfer by revenue
officers. The data that is out also shows that large amount of such lands is in districts of Jammu region. A very large number of Hindu families are also beneficiary for ‘free’ lands / encroached lands (large quantity of that is not transferred).
I would not comment on the status of the cases individually, but one thing I want to let known to people of my state, who hate politics of regional and communal divides. In reference to the news on the Government going for review, statements of some political leaders and locals from Jammu region have also appeared in media from which some inferences could be drawn.
It appears that the actual data has officially come in the public domain and has disturbed some elements who were giving only regional and communal face to lands allotted under Roshni and less to the irregularities made by the erring officers. BJP leaders had become more vocal calling it a political fraud made to benefit non-BJP leaders and people in Kashmir valley; and some people on communal basis. But now when it has been in public that only 3,48,160 kanal land out of 20,00,000 kanal was offered for transfer to applicants out of which 3,40,091 (97.68%) Kanal was Agri land. And out of total 6,04,602 Kanal cleared under ‘Roshni’ for transfer 5,71, 210 kanal was in Jammu region and only 33,392 in Kashmir region. Large lands given as Agriculture lands free are in Rajouri, Poonch districts which are already muslim majority districts. Most of the C category (State land encroachment recorded in revenue records, other than Roshni, and D category (State land encroachment Physically but not recorded known so far are in Jammu region. It appears that the BJP leadership is politically disturbed more due to DDC elections also and vote bank being in Jammu region and may be has influenced the Government for filing a review petition.Those people who were trumpeting communal tones labelling Roshni Act a scheme to benefit only muslims too appear sensing trouble to any local political ambitions that they may be having, but J&K Administration too could be asked why their Advocates did not so far provide correct information to court? Why the Government advocates did not contest the petitions at right time and defended the actions & conduct of the earlier Legislative Assemblies, was it was so because then Valley centric parties were in majority? Why the LG Government did not provide the real classifications of the holders of Government lands to the courts since all were not illegal encroachers and a good number was of also people holding small areas since decades and instead now coming with the terms like small/ poor beneficiaries/ encroachers? Will amount of Rs. 25,000 cr come with new classification that Government is said to be thinking of? Why could the Government advocates atleast even defend the Governor’s The J&K State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the occupants) ACT, 2001 (Repeal and savings) Act 2018? Data regarding districts of Udhampur, Rajouri, Kathua, Poonch, Doda, Kishtwar, Reasi, Ramban, Jammu would reveal large number of beneficiaries / lands in Agriculture ( free) Category as well as Category C and D. There could be bad elements in any department but it is surely unfair to accuse every one and hence Government has been unfair to even revenue department while contesting petitions. Some people are alleging that with the political pressures of leaders from BJP, data of districts other than Jammu was being delayed but how long it could be.
It is appealed to common people that some elements appear pushing the revelations into communal controversies which would instead benefit the wrong doers by pushing the investigations off the track.

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