Terming the transfer of forest land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) as ‘Civil Occupation’ by New Delhi, Kashmir Bar Association (KBA) threatened agitation in case government does not cancel the land transfer order. Hundreds of lawyers affiliated with KBA took out a protest rally from Lower Court. They marched through Lal Chowk, Residency Road and Maulana Azad Road. Carrying banners and placards, the lawyers were protesting against the controversial transfer of 800 kanals of forest land to SASB by the state government.
Raising pro-freedom, anti-SASB and anti-India slogans, the agitating lawyers demanded immediate cancellation and revocation of the land transfer order. “This is an attempt to change the demography of the Kashmir,” they alleged and threatened that in case the order was not canceled, they will stage an agitation and the government would be wholly and totally responsible for the repercussions.
While addressing the protesting lawyers, President KBA, Nazir Ahmad Ronga said, “After the military occupation of Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi is resorting to civil occupation”. He, however, warned New Delhi that no sale of land in Jammu and Kashmir would be tolerate and allowed. “We will oppose any such move tooth and nail. We will foil all the nefarious attempts of New Delhi to grab our land,” he further said.
Ronga demanded immediate cancellation of the land transfer order. “If government fails to revoke the land transfer order, it will have to face severe consequences”, he added. Terming the land transfer as ‘illegal’ and a ‘planned conspiracy to civil occupation of Kashmir’ by New Delhi, Ronga said, “We are not against Hindus and Amarnath Yatra, but we are against the transfer of land to SASB. The Muslims have been at the forefront to provide all possible help to the Yatris during the annual pilgrimage over the years. However, now the SASB is communalizing the issue”.
The KBA president said that the SASB would use the land to raise permanent structures to settle non-Kashmiris, thereby changing the Muslim-majority character of the Valley. “It is a conspiracy to civil occupation and to change the Muslim character of the Valley,” he said. Ronga added, “Bar will stage series of protests in the coming days to press government to cancel the land transfer”.
Demanding the land transfer decision should be revoked forthwith, State president of All India Shromani Akali Dal Joginder Singh Shan has extended full support to the Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Geelani against his fight against the allotment of 800 kanals of forest land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) at Baltal.
“Every inch of Kashmir belongs to its people-Muslims, Sikhs and Kashmir Pandits. We will not allow the sale of our land at any cost. We support Geelani’s stand against SASB. We, too, feel that Amarnath Yatra should be handed over to Kashmiri Pandits. The decision of land transfer should be revoked immediately,” Shan told Rising Kashmir on the sidelines of a press conference here.
He said Kashmiri Pandits are capable enough to handle the Yatra. “As we are taking care of our Gurdwaras, Kashmiri Pandits can easily handle Yatra and take care of the cave as well,” Shan said. “As far the tented accommodations for Yatris, local Muslims can do that given their expertise.” He said, SASB has always been in controversy from the day one it was formed. “It (SASB) has triggered communal frenzy in the state. Police is now using force against the peaceful protesters, which is wrong. One person was killed in police firing, we strongly condemn that,” Shan said.
He said Sikhs were not against the Yatra, but transferring forest land to the SASB that has not even a single Kashmiri member is highly condemnable. “Why it became a need to transfer the land to SASB this year only as the Yatra has been going on for past several decades,” questioned Shan. He said Kashmiri people have suffered a lot over the past 18 years of continuous strife. “We (Sikhs) also have suffered immensely. We have been suffering in Kashmir since Dogra rule. Muslims, Pandits and Sikhs have gone through hell here,” Shan said. “But the day is not far, when truth will prevail and atrocities will end.”-SANA