BJY should not be used to whitewash past: Omar
Srinagar: National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said the Congress should not allow former minister Chaudhary Lal Singh, who had supported the rapists in the Kathua rape-and-murder case, to participate in the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which is scheduled to enter Jammu and Kashmir on January 19.
“The Congress will have to look into whether some people might try to use the Yatra to whitewash their past. We have not forgotten the role played by those leaders who tried to save the rapists. The way they hurt the sentiments of people is not hidden from anyone,” Abdullah told reporters here.
The former chief minister was responding to a question about whether the Congress should allow the participation of leaders like Singh, who had come out in support of the rape accused while being a minister in the PDP-BJP government.
On other issues, Abdullah said retrieving land provided to people under the Roshni scheme will be a big betrayal to them.
“The Roshni scheme brought by the state government (in 2001) was passed by the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. After that it was approved by the Governor. No court rejected this scheme. It will be a fraud with the people of Jammu and Kashmir that the land rights vested under Roshni will be taken back because it was the poor farmers of Jammu which benefited the most from this scheme as they converted the lease land into freehold land,” he said.
Opposition parties have protested a recent order of the J&K administration regarding the eviction of encroachers from state land, including those handed out under the Roshni scheme.
“The government should review this decision,” Abdullah said, adding if retrieval of state land from illegal occupation does not cause problems for common masses, he had no problem with it.
Under the Roshni scheme, occupants of state land were vested with proprietary rights against a nominal fee paid to the government. While occupants in Jammu got rights for over 28,000 hectares, such area in Kashmir was much less at just 1500 hectares.
The NC leader said these drives were actually an attempt to divert the attention of the people from the real issues.
“I feel all this is being done to harass the people because they have not been able to improve the situation which is evident from Rajouri attacks and arming of VDCs,” he added.
“Since the government has failed to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir, it uses state land and the Roshni Act as a tool to harass people,” he said.
Omar Abdullah also asked the government to speed up the investigation into the mysterious disappearance of a Kupwara man who according to his family was picked up by the Army, which then claimed that he had escaped from their custody.
“If he is missing, the government is answerable; a month and eight days is enough time to investigate as to where the missing boy has gone. I don’t think that the government should remain silent, it should bring the facts to the fore. If, God forbid, any incident has happened with him within or outside the army camp, then the government should own it and those guilty should be brought to book,” he added.