Kashmir Sainik Colony: Tell the Truth

With Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti breaking her silence over the establishment of Sainik Colony in Valley, the issue has only gotten bigger.  Talking to reporters at the reopening of Durbar at civil secretariat in the summer capital, Mehbooba vowed that “no such action will be allowed, which is detrimental to the interests of the state”. She said that no land had been allotted for establishing Sainik Colony and that the demand for the colony was not from ex-servicemen from outside the state, but from the state subjects of Jammu and Kashmir. She also accused the former Chief Minister and the opposition leader Omar Abdullah of making “false accusations”.  In response Omar posted the image of the government order on his Twitter account and dared Mufti to file a case against him in the nearest police station if the order was fake. He added that if the CM didn’t file such case, then “the people will know who is lying in this matter”.

This has created an interesting situation. The government has not denied the order which makes it clear that the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir had agreed “to allotment of 173 kanals of land on payment in the Old Airfield Area”. However, the Rajya Sainik Board has revised its demand and sought 350 kanals. Now, a revised proposal has been sent to Divisional Commissioner and the State Home Department.  The order nowhere mentions that the colony is exclusively for the state subjects as Mehbooba would like people to believe. It just talks about “the allotment of 350 kanals of land for Sainik Colony,” as the number of aspirants has “increased to 26 officers, 125 JCOs and 900 others”. Who are they? Are they all state subjects?  Nobody knows. The order is vague on this, perhaps deliberately so and thus can be twisted either way. And this hardly gives people a cause for confidence.

Now, if Mehbooba’s assurance were to be taken on face value, does it mean that the government will not allot land for the colony. But if the CM says that the colony is meant for the permanent state subjects only, then the government is duty bound to allot the land. But a legislator from her coalition partner BJP Ravinder Raina makes no boons about the fact that the colony is for non-state subjects. “Like people of state can own  property in India. Likewise people from the other parts have the birth right to come and stay in this northern state,” Raina said.

Similarly, BJP MP Tarun Vijay likened Sainik colony in Kashmir to “planting saffron in Kashmir” which would bring “fragrance of Indianess and principal mainstream of patriotic India to Valley to overcome the smell of stone pelting and guns.” 

“These colonies would help government and be shield against many elements,” Vijay added. So, something is seriously amiss. And this contradictory political opinion about the colony between the two coalition partners will only deepen the suspicions in Valley.  What people would want from PDP is to be truthful.   Settling non-state subjects in Valley or Jammu is the violation of the special status of J&K. And normally matter should have ended then and there.

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