In Omar-Mehbooba spat, BJP advocates its ally

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Pardeep Singh Bali

In an overt support to its ally-Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) on the ongoing spat over proposed Sainik Colony in Kashmir, the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) today said that the hue and cry by the opposition parties is to mislead people of the valley and disturb peace.

Terming opposition’s fear that the government was attempting to change the ‘demography of Kashmir by establishing a Sainik colony’ as misleading, BJP said that ‘it is proposed to serve only state subject soldiers not for those from outside state’.

“The opposition is out to mislead the people of Kashmir on Sanik colony issue by relating it with demography change. It may be made clear that if established it (Sainik colony) would not be open for all but only to serving and retired soldiers of state to provide them better living facilities,” said Sunil Sethi, BJP’s chief spokesperson.

He said, “When we talk about Sainik colony, we have to understand that it is already in Jammu, where only resident soldiers, who originally belong to remote and far-off areas of state, are living. They are provided housing facility in the city to enable them to provide better education to their children and good life to the families after serving the country”.

Reiterating that the proposed Sainik colony in valley is not for outsiders, he said “A solider from Punjab cannot own land in J&K but if a solider from Kashmir want to live in Jammu he can easily get land allotment in Jammu Sainik colony, so there must be no confusion on state subject law of Jammu and Kashmir”.

“If established, Kashmir’s Sainik colony would be beneficial for the serving and retired soldiers of entire Kashmir province and in case retired solider of Jammu region want to settle in Kashmir I don’t think anybody has a problem in that, because people of Jammu are also subjects of J&K” he added.

He maintained that the establishment of Kashmir Sainik colony will not violate any special law of Jammu and Kashmir and like already established colony in Jammu, land at Kashmir’s Sainik colony will be available to State Subject soldiers only.

Pertinently, since past few days, Chief Minister-Mehbooba Mufti and former Chief Minister-Omar Abdullah are in spat over the proposal of creation of Sainik Colonies in Kashmir.

Mehbooba Mufti had said that there was a demand for establishing the settlements for retired army men and their families from the state. The Chief Minister however said no land has been allotted under the proposal.

“The demand (for the colonies) is not from outside Sainiks but those state subjects who have retired as soldiers. But no land has been allotted by the Government to establish such colonies,” said Mehbooba.

The proposal for the Sainik colonies has snowballed into a major controversy with opposition National Conference and separatists terming it as a “ploy to settle non-state subjects in Kashmir, in violation of Article 370.”

Meanwhile, in support of the coalition partner, BJP MLA Ravinder Raina had said that there was nothing wrong with allotting land to kin of ex-servicemen in Jammu and Kashmir.

“National Conference and separatists are raking up Sainik colony issue to befool people of Kashmir. If former chief minister Omar Abdullah can own properties in Delhi and other parts of the country, why cannot the kin of the martyred soldiers live in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

“J&K is an integral part of India and every Indian has the birth right to come and stay in the state,” he said.

BJP demands grant of plots to the families of soldiers who died fighting in Jammu and Kashmir, Raina said.

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