‘Roshni’ taking dangerous communal twist in Jammu, vested interests call it ‘Land Jihad’
Srinagar: A vicious campaign has been unleashed in Jammu to malign the Muslim community after certain groups in connivance with some television news channels raised the bogey of `Land Jihad’ following a recent high court judgment to strike down the Roshni Act.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Binda ordered a CBI probe into the Roshni Act after pointing out numerous discrepancies.
The division bench highlighted several issues about the land grabbing in both Kashmir and Jammu divisions.
Official figures revealed that 1602143 kanals of land were illegally occupied in Jammu, of which 571210 kanals were regularized under the Roshni scheme. Likewise, 444293 kanals were illegally occupied in Kashmir, of which 33392 kanals of land was regularized under Roshni.
“In the instant case, there are allegations of ministers, legislators, bureaucrats, high ranking government and police officials having encroached upon public lands and having caused orders passed under the Roshni Act in their favor,” the court said.
Jammu province figures
Land under occupation (in Kanals)
Land regularized under Roshni Act (in Kanals)
Kashmir province figures
Land under occupation(in Kanals)
Land regularized under Roshni Act(in Kanals)
However, certain groups and media houses have been stereotyping Muslims calling it “Land Jihad”.
“Given the manner in which the respondents have encouraged encroachment, we have no manner of doubt that the encroachers are happily continuing in illegal occupation of valuable State land, with the encouragement and patronage of those tasked with the duty of protection of public property and security of public interest,” the court said.
Senior advocate from Jammu Sheikh Shakeel Ahmad said politics is being played over the high court judgment. “Where has high court written that Muslims have grabbed land? In 64 page judgment, where is the word land jihad written? TV channels and Ankur Sharma (one of the lawyers and petitioners) is building a narrative. Let Ankur Sharma divulge how many beneficiaries of Roshni are Muslims. There are 30000 to 33000 beneficiaries. Let him divulge the details,” he said.
Shakeel said never in the history has the judgments on scams and scandals been communalized. “Vyapam scam happened in Madhya Pradesh. There was a 2G scam, Coal scam, and others. Did you see Hindu-Muslim angle into those? Why is it happening here? Why are people scandalizing the court judgment?” he asked.
Advocate Ankur Sharma, however, said more applications of Muslims were processed than Hindus in Jammu.
“Suppose 10 farmers in Jammu applied under the scheme, only two were processed and eight remained pending. Likewise, if 10 Muslims applied under the scheme, eight were processed and two remained pending. Particularly in Hindu areas, the applications were not processed. For instance in Kathua district, which is Hindu dominated, the cases were not processed,” he said.
PDP spokesman Firdous Tak said the logic and reasoning of the Sangh driven campaign is aimed at creating another state-sponsored and state-aided massacre. “Muslims were in majority in Jammu before 1947… Jammu belong to Jammu residents and to Nagpories and Biharis who want to drive Muslims out of their home in furtherance of Hindu Rashtra,” he tweeted.