The High Court Bar Association (HCBA) has said that it will oppose tooth and nail the India’s plan to set up a colony for former Indian troops near airport in Srinagar. A statement issued after the meeting of the HCBA’s Executive members in Srinagar said, “It is a nefarious design on the part of the BJP-RSS combine to change the demography of the territory and to use PDP for the said purpose.”
The HCBA said that there was no need to establish such colonies even for the ex-servicemen who were genuine residents of Kashmir because they had their own houses in which they were living along with their families. It said that if any ex-serviceman had no land to build a house on, he should have no difficulty in purchasing land in his native area.
About a petition filed by a RSS-backed think tank, challenging a legal provision in the Indian Constitution that bars sale and purchase of land by an outsider in Kashmir, the HCBA said that it would consult pro-freedom groups before formulating a response.
“The petition is politically motivated with a purpose to facilitate more and more Sainik Colonies and pave the way for settlement of outsiders in the territory to change its Muslim-majority character,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, Hurriyet leader, Syed Saleem Gilani commenting on plan to establish a colony for Indian soldiers in a statement issued in Srinagar said that Jammu and Kashmir was an internationally recognized disputed territory and the decision for its future was still pending. The settling or allotting of land to Indian army personnel or citizens was the clear violation of the international rules and had no constitutional or moral justification.
Hurriyet leaders, Shabbir Ahmad Dar, Muhammad Iqbal Mir and human rights defender, Muhammad Ahsan Untoo in a joint statement said that the filing of a petition against Article 35A and establishment of soldier colony in Srinagar posed a serious challenge to the Muslim identity of Jammu and Kashmir. They said that the issue was as important as life and death for the people of Kashmir, adding that no effort would be spared to resist the move.