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Anti-encroachment Drive Paused In Jammu And Kashmir To Protect Small Landholders

Jammu and Kashmir Halts Anti-Encroachment Drive Following Controversy

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The Jammu and Kashmir administration has put a halt to its anti-encroachment drive, which has caused controversy after the eviction of thousands of people who had been cultivating and residing on government land.

The drive, which used bulldozers to remove encroachments across 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir, retrieved large tracks of state land that was allegedly occupied by many, including politicians and senior state officials.

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However, following the outcry and complaints from the opposition, officials have now been directed to stop the drive while the government comes up with a policy to protect small landholders. The aim of the drive was to retrieve land encroached by the rich and powerful, but it was never the government’s intention to take away the land of small landholders or of those who have built a home, according to a senior Revenue official.

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The government is now seeking to consolidate what has been achieved so far in the drive and has directed Revenue officials to furnish the status report of the land retrieved. In addition, officials have acknowledged that common people have also suffered due to the drive in some places, and the Lt Governor has made it clear that no common man should be targeted.

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The anti-encroachment drive, which started in January, has been controversial, with some alleging that bulldozers are being used on communal lines and that the government is taking away people’s livelihoods. While the government has stated that only encroachments by the “high and mighty” will be targeted, in the absence of any formal order or amendment of the original order, a mass eviction drive has been carried out across the Union Territory.

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