Majid Kapra

New land policy draconian, inhuman; won’t allow its implementation: Bukhari

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Srinagar: Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari Thursday described Jammu and Kashmir government’s new land policy as “draconian” and “totally inhuman”, saying it will not be allowed to be implemented.

Recently, the J&K administration has notified that all the outgoing lessees, except in the case of subsisting/expired leases for residential purposes, shall immediately hand over the possession of the land taken on lease to the government, failing which the outgoing lessee shall be evicted.

On Wednesday, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha defended the new land lease laws, saying that necessary changes were being made in land laws to benefit the common man as earlier legislations were “very regressive”.

“These land laws are draconian. Nowhere in the world are people removed from possession,” Bukhari said while talking with media on the sidelines of a function organized to welcome new entrants from north Kashmir into the party fold here.

He said the leaseholders mainly have commercial establishments and if their leases have expired and have not been extended, it is not their mistake. “It’s not the fault of a lessee but successive regimes which failed to extend the agreement after the lease period expired. Now the government has introduced another law which I think is another tool to harass people from J&K,” he said.

“These laws cannot be implemented, they cannot stand the scrutiny of law. It is totally inhuman … The Apni Party will not allow these draconian laws to be implemented,” he said.

The former minister said his party did not want to politicise the issue and that is why had not said anything about it.

“But, because the politicians here are like vultures, they need issues. They want to create a storm in a teacup. Had it been left to Altaf Bukhari and the Apni Party, we could have resolved it without making it an issue,” he said.

Political parties including the National Conference (NC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peoples Conference (PC) have also criticised the government’s move.

Meanwhile, Bukhari welcomed NC vice-president Omar Abdullah’s remarks that if his party was voted to power, it would revoke the Public Safety Act (PSA).

“It is very good if he (Abdullah) wants to do it. I will not go into why his grandfather enacted it or why he did it, but it is good if he wants to do it. Why should we criticise something good or someone who was wrong yesterday, but wants to take the right path today,” he said.

Bukhari said if Abdullah was feeling remorse, then it is fine and the Apni Party welcomes it.

“I think no one should be pained over this, or say how many people were slapped with the PSA. We also have been a part of some governments. Why did these people not rake this up when they were a part of the government?” he said, apparently referring to Abdullah’s criticism by Sajad Lone-led Peoples Conference.

On Omar Abdullah’s another statement that the next Assembly election will be fought for the identity of Jammu and Kashmir, Apni Party president said “better late than never, now they have realized what Altaf Bukhari had said in March 2020 ….”

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