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Demolition Drive: ‘Bulldozer is not a solution’

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As the drive against the alleged encroachment of state land is underway in Jammu and Kashmir, people are coming up with mixed reactions on social media networking sites. Though some are supporting the drive while the majority of the people are terming the government move contrary to the wishes and interests of common people.

Almost every district of Kashmir has witnessed the demolition drive. At some places, ‘victims’ confronted the revenue officials, terming their action ‘unjust’. Shopkeepers in Keller and Nagabal areas of South Kashmir’s Shopian district observed shutdown against the government action while Jammu Kashmir Kisan Tehreek staged a massive protest asking the government to stop the demolition drive.

The government has already clarified that the drive is only against those people who have encroached on state land.

Netizens as per the news agency Kashmir News Trust have been uploading videos and images of different demolition drives with their point of view.

A netizen Komal JB Singh on Twitter while criticizing the drive wrote: “What a failed leadership of Jammu and Kashmir! Not even (a) single leader has (the) courage to stand with people against Bulldozer on (the) ground. What a state of helplessness of people.”

Journalist Majid Maqbool wrote that demolition is the new development model. “Bulldozer is paving (the) way to same old “Naya #Kashmir”! People, already besieged and silenced, are encouraged to be… mute spectators!”

Peoples Democratic Party in its February issue of the monthly newsletter ‘Speak UP’ wrote that “BJP’s lotus seems to have been replaced by a bulldozer where Kashmir is concerned, a far cry from the insaniyat (humanity) and jamooriyat (democracy) that Kashmiris were promised.”

A lesser-known party namely JK Awami Awaz claimed that it protested against the bulldozer policy in June last year but nobody supported it. It’s Chairman Suhail Khan wrote that the people of Kashmir are suffering due to bulldozer politics.

Indian American Muslim Council in response to a video about the demotion of a house wrote that the use of bulldozers to forcibly dispossess Kashmiris of their homes and lands is a blatant violation of their rights and dignity. “This callous act only adds to the suffering and trauma of a people already grappling with decades-long conflict.”

Senior Journalist Ahmed Ali Fayyaz in one of his multiple tweets about the demolition drive suggested to the government to frame a policy instead of using bulldozers.
“All encroachments have happened because of dereliction of duty by government officers. So bulldozers may not be a solution based on justice. Government should come up with a policy. Proven encroachers should be given options: payment of cost at market rate; payment of rent post retrieval etc.” [KNT]

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