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Is BJP trying to benefit from annulment of Roshni Act in DDC elections?

Last Updated on December 9, 2020 at 7:41 pm

The Jammu and Kashmir government has requested J&K high court to advance its hearing of the review petition on the October 9 judgment of the J&K high court. In the referred judgement, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal said that the Roshni act was “completely unconstitutional, contrary to law and unsustainable.”

The Roshni Act assured the transfer of ownership to occupants of state land in return for a fee which was determined by the government. This act paved a way for regularisation of encroachments on public land and it was said that this act will generate resources to fund power projects in the erstwhile state and hence was named ‘Roshni’. Also Read: Result of DDC polls in J&K will make or mar the image of BJP in the country

However, it was alleged that this act was enabling corruption and unauthorised usurpation of public land in J&K. In November 2018, J&K’s then-governor Satya Pal Malik disabled the act saying that the legislation failed to meet its objectives. Only a very small amount of money was generated by the government against the speculated revenue of Rs 25,000 crores.

It is learnt that the court has advanced the hearing to December 11. The court has supported the government’s advice to the CBI to go after major beneficiaries and poor people with small land offerings should not be scrutinised first. The government has also requested the judiciary to not interfere in a possible future policy for individuals who have had a lease over land for the last 40-50 years. Also Read: Ravinder Raina, Kavinder Gupta among those occupying govt accommodation “illegally”

The government’s request for reviewing the becomes significant given the fact that the Bharatiya Janata Party is trying to fit the high court’s ruling into its narrative as DDC elections are going on. Last month, senior BJP leader Kavinder Gupta told his audience that the Roshni scheme is a “part of a bigger conspiracy to carry out ‘land jihad’ in J&K.”

The BJP leader also introduced a conspiracy that this act was a plan that might have been launched from across the border by Pakistan’s supporters here, in an attempt to change the religious demography of the Jammu region. He claimed that for the past several years, authorities in the erstwhile state were trying to accommodate people from a particular community by legalising the illegal occupants of the land and transferring ownership of the land to them.