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NC rejects charge of encroachment by Abdullahs, says mulling legal action

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Srinagar: The National Conference on Wednesday rejected claims of the Jammu and Kashmir administration that its party leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah had encroached on land in Jammu and said it is mulling legal recourse to challenge the “unfounded and unwarranted allegations” being levelled against them.

In a statement, a party spokesperson said the allegations of the administration have reached “an obnoxious level” and pointed out that the NC vice-president Omar Abdullah never owned land or a house either in Jammu or Srinagar and stayed with his father.

“The malicious nature of the allegations is laid bare by the fact that even though Mr. Omar Abdullah does not own the land but actually lives with his father in Jammu as he does in Srinagar, yet in order to hype up a frenzy, his name has been added to the list and released by the government. The fact that DDC and ULB elections are underway answers the timing and motive aspect of the allegations and nothing much needs to be added on that score,” the spokesperson said.

He clarified that all claims with respect to any encroachments in building a house in Jammu by its party president “are unequivocally denied” and the land of Farooq Abdullah has nothing to do with the Roshni Act.

The statement comes a day after the Division Commissioner of Jammu made public a list of people who had allegedly encroached on the forest land. The administration claimed that the house in Jammu, belonging to Farooq Abdullah and his son, was encroached.

However, it made it clear that it had nothing to do with the Roshni Act, which was scrapped by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

The spokesperson said that all questions pertaining to the land in question would be fittingly answered as and when they are called upon to do so by the authorities concerned.

With respect to the office premises of the party at Srinagar and Jammu, it is stated that the same were in possession of the party under lease and on the promulgation of the Roshni Act, the National Conference had also availed the benefit of the scheme, the spokesman said.

Without affording the opportunity of hearing to any of the beneficiaries (including the party), the Act was declared to be unconstitutional by the high court thereby leaving “thousands of our citizens, who had bonafidely sought benefit of the scheme, are now virtually deprived of their home and hearth for no fault of theirs”.

The party expressed surprise that the administration, instead of challenging the decision of the high court, “abdicated its duty and in a manner of unusual promptitude and sought the implementation of the judgment”.

“It is surprising that while similar acts of conversion of leasehold property into freehold property on similar conversion charges is in vogue in other parts of the country including Delhi, Gujarat and Maharashtra, yet the same legislative exercise in J&K was declared unconstitutional and the administration chose to do nothing about it,” it said.

The spokesman said the party has sought necessary legal advice and is in the process of taking appropriate legal steps to safeguard its interests.

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