Srinagar: The residents of Wukho Kakapora area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district are up in arms against the administration of Jammu and Kashmir for allowing the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to build camps on their irrigation land.
On Monday, the residents also staged a protest at Srinagar’s press enclave and demanded immediate revocation of the order allowing the transfer of 80 Kanals of irrigation land to armed forces.
On October 28, 201, the JK administration gave a nod for transferring 65.5 acres to the CRPF for establishing camping sites at eight villages in Anantnag, Shopian, and Pulwama districts.
The protesters chanted pro-justice slogans. Talking to the media persons, they said, “This land was utilized by our ancestors for irrigation, then in 1967; the government of Jammu and Kashmir provided an irrigation scheme for this land and was used for irrigation purposes till date. This land is bread and butter for over 800 people.”
“If Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi is serious in his claims and promises about the farmers then how come it is possible to transfer a huge land, meant for irrigation purpose, be transferred,” they said.
“We don’t need any compensation. We are dependent on this land. It is impossible to survive for us without this land as there is no option left with us to earn our bread and butter,” they added.
Threatening to intensify their protest, the residents said that in case the order is not revoked, they will continue to hit the streets to press for the demands.
“We appeal to Narendra Modi, Home Minister of India Amit Shah, LG administration, and all concerned authorities to revoke the order at an earliest so that the locals could heave a sigh of relief,” they said.
However, this is not the first time that residents have come on the streets to protest. Earlier, they expressed opposition after at least two major community halls were “occupied by the CRPF” in the past few days, the report said, adding, they demanded an alternative accommodation for the security personnel.
The issue of land transfer to the armed forces has always been a contentious issue in the Valley with locals opposing such moves.
In 2019 the Indian Army had to approach the JK High Court after a local body — Sonmarg Development Authority — had objected to the army’s proposal of constructing a transit camp in the scenic Sonmarg.
The political leaders in the Valley have repeatedly questioned the presence of armed forces and the GoI’s moves to transfer more land to the forces.
On November 14, former CM Mehbooba Mufti put out a tweet questioning the government of India’s decision.
“By pushing armed forces into civilian areas, GoI isn’t only choking public spaces but also getting armed forces personnel into direct confrontation with people. This can lead to disastrous consequences.”
The JK administration has already allowed the transferring of 65.5 acres to the CRPF for establishing camping sites at eight villages in Anantnag, Shopian, and Pulwama districts.