House Committee to investigate Taj’s land grabbing

Saima Bhat
Srinagar

The Chairman of Legislative Council, Amrit Malhotra, has constituted a House committee to investigate the ‘land grabbing’ case against Taj Mohiddin.

Taj, state’s irrigation and flood control minister, was accused of grabbing forest land by a fellow lawmaker during the just concluded session of the state legislature. The land is located in Sadvow, Shopian, on the road leading to Ahrabal picnic spot.

Amrit Malhotra

The five member committee is headed by PDP lawmaker Murtaza Khan. The committee has to submit its findings before the house by or before the next session of the state legislature, budget session 2013. The committee was constituted by Chairman Malhotra on basis of a fierce debate over the issue when Panthers Party member M Rafiq Shah raised the issue last  week and submitted a number of documents to the chair.

The documents include the report of Tehsildar Shopian that suggests the land under survey number 4/1 (10 Kannals and 16 Marlas) and 1162 (3 Kannals) are under the illegal and unauthorized occupation of Taj Mohiuddin since ‘prior’ to Kharief 1987.

But the report, annexed with the letters of Halqa Patwari and Naib Tehsildar Dated Feb 28, 2011, gives two contradictory statements. Tehsildar states that the land in question has been under illegal occupation of Taj Mohiuddin ‘prior’ to 1987, while as the report of the subordinate officials show that the land was occupied by Taj since Kharief 1987.

In the same report Tehsildar also claims that the record prior to Kharief 1987 was destroyed when the Tehsil building in Shopian was gutted in March 2005.

On the other hand there is no such assertion in the report prepared by Patwari and Naib Tehsildar who had stated that the record prior to 1987 were not available as it was submitted to the office of the Tehsildar.

Taj Mohiuddin

The final report of the Tehsildar reveals that the occupied land is in question from last 27 years, while as the revenue record annexed with the report of the Tehsildar states that the Khasra Girdawari of the land in question (from year 1987 to 2011) reflect the position of the land from 1994 onwards only and the records also show that the land under Khasra no.4 is under legal occupation of Taj whereas land under Khasra no. 1162 was under his cultivation. Meanwhile there is no mention of his illegal occupation over the land under Khasra number 1162 which contradicts the report of Patwari, Naib Tehsildar and Tehsildar.

In another controversial statement, DFO Shopian has raised certain question as the number and date on the document have been allegedly changed and the aforesaid land in question was actually a forest land. So far there is nothing on record to show that the Tehsildar has disagreed with the claims of DFO so the claim by DFO has been accepted.

The issue of illegal occupation of land by Taj Mohiddun was raised in the Council on October 11 by a lawmaker, from Panthers party, Syed Mohammad Rafiq Shah. But in its reply, the government informed council that as per the revenue records there is no such illegal possession of forest land at village Sadvow.

Murtaza Khan

On the same day Taj held a press conference to provide clarification on the issue of land grabbing.
“If even one marla of forest land will be proven under my possession, I will resign from my post. It is just an attempt from Shah to malign my image,” Taj said in that press conference.

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