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This Tehsildar Has Taken on Powerful Land Grabbers in Budgam District. Now, Fears for Her Life

Sources said, huge tracts of land have been grabbed by top bureaucrats, police officers, politicians and other influential people, but no one dared to take action against them.

Aakash Hassan | News18.com@Aakashhassan

Updated:June 4, 2019, 3:03 PM IST
This Tehsildar Has Taken on Powerful Land Grabbers in Budgam District. Now, Fears for Her Life
Budgam tehsildar Nusrat Aziz. (News18)

Srinagar: On June 1, there was lot of drama at the Friends Enclave, a posh colony, located close to Srinagar airport and houses bureaucrats, police officers, top businessmen and politicians. The area, which falls in Budgam district was visited by the tehsildar of the district.

The tehsildar, Nusrat Aziz, had an earthmover with her and was accompanied by her subordinates and a police team.

An officer entering the elite colony for demolishing the structures which have been raised on state land, illegally, is a rare sight.

“The place is such that even entering the colony means getting calls from top officers and influential people,” Aziz told News18.

She was going to free around 1.25 acres of land occupied illegally. But before her staff could start work and the structures could be demolished, a few locals intervened and “tried to create hurdles for her”.

Two persons, Haleem Ahmad Lone, a retired government official, and Ishfaq Ahmad, a director-rank officer of the state, were arrested for not letting Aziz do her work. An FIR has also been registered.

Official sources said, Ishfaq had encroached upon 4 kanals of land, while one Bilal Ahmad, a chartered accountant, had illegally taken over 2 kanals of land.

However, Ishfaq, has denied any wrongdoing. “I have not encroached even an inch of land. Whatever is being said is baseless. I am ready to face an investigation,” he said, adding that in fact, he was one among those who had complained about the land grab.

A revenue officer told News18 that over 2 kanals of land were grabbed by a top police officer of the state.

Some news reports have said the officer in question is Additional Director General of J&K Police Armed Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani.

However, in a letter written by the tehsildar to the deputy commissioner of the district following the encroachment drive, the officer said she had “not mentioned anyone’s name (SIC) specially of ADGP of police armed Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani.”

However, local residents told News18 that a tin-wall raised on a concrete structure which was destroyed during the drive was owned by Gillani.

However, the police officer said, “I don’t own any land in the area.”

Some land was also reclaimed from the possession of a PDP leader, Bari Andrabi, said sources. Andrabi is also the former vice-chairman of the state’s Cable Car Corporation.

“His house is on legal land, but he had built a glass house on government land and we have destroyed it,” Aziz told News18.

Despite being hailed for her bold move, Aziz said she was facing a lot of pressure from different quarters.

“It is not easy to take on these influential people. As soon as I started the anti-encroachment drive, I started getting calls from different powerful people,” she told News18.

“I knew I will be put under pressure, so I switched off my phone,” she said, adding, “Even my family members started getting calls. I am stunned how they got my phone numbers.”

Aziz, 40, said effort was underway to transfer her to some other place, but at present, she had bigger concerns.

“I am concerned about my life. I might have to ask for security. I feel threatened,” she told News18.

The land which was retrieved by her on June 1 at Friends Enclave costs around Rs 30 crore.

The encroachment had taken place with the help of government officials.

“Nearby villagers don’t have a graveyard to bury their dead ones. This land could be given to them,” said Aziz, adding even a dairy farm can be put up as it is grazing land.

However, what the tehsildar has retrieved is the tip of an iceberg.

Sources said, huge tracts of land have been grabbed by top bureaucrats, police officers, politicians and other influential people, but no one dared to take action against them.

“A former deputy commissioner of Srinagar, a retired director of information and a former divisional commissioner have encroached upon government land in the same area,” a source in the revenue department said.

Aziz said there have been several complaints about people in influential positions having grabbed government land.

“I hope I get support from me seniors in this endeavour and get encroachers face the law,” she said.

However, when those at the helm of affairs are the violators, the situation turns tricky and officers like Aziz have to fear for their safety.

Earlier, she said, an email had been sent to the office of governor against her, requesting that she be transferred from the post.

“Those people who make law and then enforce on people have tattered the law here and I am supposed to fight them,” said Aziz, adding, “It is not easy, but I am ready to fight.”

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| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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