Legislator and National Conference senior leader Dr Sheikh Mustafa Kamal Thursday said that Kashmir is a paradise on earth and Indian Army should not be allowed to use this land for their artillery drills. “Mirwaiz is right and I acknowledge his version that only deserts are suited for artillery drills. The job of Army here is to safeguard borders and it is not meant to use the land of Kashmir for their military drills,” Kamal told Srinagar based news agency CNS adding that it would be injustice towards our ‘paradise’ if the Government provides alternate site to Army for their drills.
He said that Kashmir is not a test laboratory for Army and it by no means has right over Tosamaidan or on any other piece of land in Kashmir. “Syed Ali Geelani is not wrong and I agree with him that Army has occupied 4.15 lakhs kanals of land illegally in Kashmir. The job of Army is not to occupy the land in Kashmir illegally but their job is to look after borders,” Kamal said.
Kamal castigated Army for turning Kashmir into a battle zone. “Kashmir is not meant for bombs and bullets. Nature has bestowed us with rare resources and Army can’t destroy our rich resources and disfigure the natural beauty of our land by turning it into battle field,” he said adding that at least 12 places in Jammu and Kashmir are being used by Army for carrying out artillery drills.
He said that lakhs of kanals of land in Kashmir are under Army’s occupation. “175.64 acres of land is under unauthorized occupation of army at Gulmarg. Government constituted a committee to take back the land from the Army but they are showing reluctance and are adamant to occupy the said land illegally,” Kamal said adding that Army in Kashmir is misusing their power and position.
National Conference Additional General Secretary told CNS that from the time of Jagmohan as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir till date Army in Kashmir has set up hundreds of permanent camps and stations in all parts of the state. “Our party repeatedly took up such issues with the top Army brass but every time the Army showed cold response. If National Conference comes into power again, it will ensure that Army vacates from permanent stations and camps and de-occupies the land that is under its illegal control,” Kamal said.
Blaming People’s Democratic Party patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed for extending lease of Tosamaidan to Army in 2004, Kamal said that National Conference did what it had promised to people. “We are not going to extend the lease of Tosamaidan and it would be big challenge for the party to restrict the movement of the Army and not allowing them to use the land of Kashmir for artillery drills,” Kamal said.