Former Jammu, Kashmir chief minister detained for protest against anti-encroachment drive -

22 March, Wednesday

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Former Jammu, Kashmir chief minister detained for protest against anti-encroachment drive

Amnesty International demands Indian authorities must immediately halt demolition drive in Kashmir

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Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti was detained on Wednesday in the capital New Delhi for protesting against the Jammu and Kashmir administration’s anti-encroachment drive in the valley.
At the protest site, Mufti said: “Jammu and Kashmir has been turned into Afghanistan by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The administration is using bulldozers to demolish the homes of the poor in the name of an anti-encroachment drive.”
In the footage aired by local television channels, Mufti was seen being lifted by police officials from the protest site and taken into a police van.
She said the ruling BJP has already taken jobs and lands from Kashmiris and is now taking away shelter from them.
She asked all the opposition parties to come together to fight against this brutality.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration issued a statement on Feb. 6, saying the Evacuee Property Department has the mandate towards safeguarding the evacuee property. “When reports of encroachment are available, the department acts swiftly with the collaboration of Revenue Department and retrieves illegally occupied evacuee land from the encroachers/land grabbers/ illegal occupation.”
The department completed the demarcation of evacuee land at various places and the process is still going on, the statement said, adding this will follow retrieval thereof by removal of encroachment, illegal occupation, and cancellation of the lease during the last two years.
On Tuesday, Amnesty International demanded that the Indian authorities must immediately halt the demolition drive and ensure that safeguards against forced evictions as outlined in international human rights standards are put in place before any evictions are carried out.
Aakar Patel, an Amnesty International official in India, said in a statement: “The ongoing demolitions appear to be an extension of the brutal human rights violations the region of Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim majority region of India, has historically witnessed. These demolitions could amount to forced evictions which constitute a gross violation of human rights.”
He also said that they (authorities) must offer adequate compensation to all those affected without discrimination, ensure that victims of forced evictions have access to an effective remedy, and those responsible are held to account.
According to media reports, the municipal authorities and district officials demolished many structures in four districts of Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla, and Budgam in Jammu and Kashmir last week.

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