Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Corruption in Gulmarg

Land mafia in Kashmir runs its tentacles deep into state bureaucracy


Srinagar: State Vigilance Organization has registered a case under appropriate provisions of law against former Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, former District Collector, Baramullah, Garib Singh, then Tehsildar, Tangmarg, then Chief Executive Officer, Gulmarg Development Authority, Farooq Ahmed Shah, then Additional Dy. Commissioner (now retired), Rafi Ahmad, then Assistant Commissioner, Revenue, Baramula and Ghulam Mohi-u-Din Shah, Naib Tehsildar, Kunzar for misuse of official position for illegal transfer of State land at Gulmarg worth crores by misusing the provisions of Roshni Act.

Case FIR No 8/2009 P/S VOK was registered following a verification conducted into allegations of abuse of official position and illegal vesting of ownership on the land in Gulmarg estate, earmarked for development of tourist infrastructure under master plan of Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA), by the officials of Revenue Department/Tourism Department, as members of the committee constituted under J&K State Land (Vesting of Ownership rights to the Occupants) Act, 2001 during the year 2008.

Verification has revealed that as per the provisions of the J&K State Land, (Vesting of Ownership rights to the Occupants) Act, 2001, any occupant of the state land shall apply to the territorial Tehsildar for having such land vested / transferred to him under the provisions of the Act. The concerned Tehsildar after holding an enquiry and verifying the contents of application would send a report to District Collector of the area with his recommendations. The District Collector would subsequently make further enquiry and forward the application alongwith his report to the committee which is required to pass appropriate order for disposal of land and also determine the price to be deposited by the applicant (occupant) for vesting of such state land. The provisions of the Act, shall however, not apply to such land as is earmarked for a specific purpose in any master plan etc.

It was found that in and around the month of January- February 2007 the then Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Khan, District Collector, Garib Singh, then Tehsildar, Tangmarg, then Chief Executive Officer, Gulmarg Development Authority, Farooq Ahmed Shah, then Additional Dy. Commissioner (now retired), Rafi Ahmad, then Assistant Commissioner, Revenue, Baramula and Ghulam Mohi-u-Din Shah, Naib Tehsildar, Kunzar, entered into criminal conspiracy with Abdul Hamid Dar s/o Lassa Dar r/o Chandilora, Tangmarg, Sayed Musadik Shah s/o Syed Maqsood Shah of Ishber, Nishat (Attorney Holder), Mohd Ibrahim Khan s/o Ghulam Hassan, r/o Wazir Bagh, Srinagar, Enar Smith, Nazir Ahmed Mir, s/o Mohd Maqbool Mir, r/o Hari Watnoo, Tangmarg, Mohd Afzal Khanday, s/o Mohd Ramzan Khanday r/o Sopore, Ghulam Mohammad Matoo s/o Aziz Shah Matoo r/o Nageen, Srinagar and Mushtaq Ahmed s/o Haji Abdul Aziz and Mushtaq Ahmed Burza s/o Abdul Ahad Burza, Manzoor Ahmed Burza s/o Ghulam Ahmed, (Attorney Holders),applicants (beneficiaries) with criminal intent to illegally process and vest the ownership on the land in Gulmarg estate to the ineligible applicants (occupants) under J&K State Land (Vesting of Ownership Rights to the Occupants) Act, 2001, commonly known as Roshni Act.

The accused public servants Garib Singh, Tehsildar Tangmarg received 34-applications which included the applications of accused applicants (beneficiaries) for grant of proprietary rights on land in Gulmarg estate under the Act from 12.01.2007 to 31.03.2007. The applications of Mushtaq Ahmed Ganie, Aijaz Ahmed Ganie and Mohd Ibrahim Khan accused applicants (beneficiaries) however, on ground were found received by Garib Singh, then Tehsildar Tangmarg after cut of date i.e. 31.03.2007 to illegally accommodate the (applicants) with ulterior motives.

It was found that accused Tehsildar in furtherance of criminal conspiracy had resorted to manipulation of records and dishonestly shown received the applications before cut of date i.e. 31.03.2007. The Tehsildar Tangmarg made an enquiry and forwarded the cases of the applicants (beneficiaries) to Deputy Commissioner, Baramula on different dates varying from 21.06.2008 to 21.07.2008, i.e. much after the convening of meeting of empowered committee on 04.06.2008, falsely certifying therein that the land in question does not belong to any Govt. Department and is not required for any public purpose.

It was found that Baseer Khan, then District Collector (Deputy Commissioner), Baramula, was informed by his subordinate staff, that the applications cannot be processed and placed before the committee, as these applications were deficient and incomplete as per the provisions of Act. Then Deputy Commissioner, Baramula, willfully ignored the information and despite possessing knowledge of the fact that land in question under the occupation of applicants (beneficiaries) stands earmarked for specific use i.e. construction of Hutments etc. in the master plan of GDA dishonestly under a conspired plan forwarded the cases of ineligible applicants (beneficiaries) to the empowered committee constituted under the Act. The accused public servants (members of empowered committee), under the chairmanship of then Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, convened a meeting on 04.06.2008, for the purpose of disposal of the land and to determine the price of land of applicants/attorney holders (beneficiaries), in Gulmarg estate under the Act.

It was found that prior to the convening of meeting, on 04.06.2008, it was brought to the notice the then Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir and Deputy Commissioner, Baramula, by the Tourism Department and Chief Executive Officer, GDA, that no ownership rights on the land can be vested upon the applicant (beneficiaries), as the land in question stands earmarked for the specific use i.e. construction of hutments etc. in the master plan of the GDA. The other members of empowered committee also derived such knowledge from the public documents. The members of the committee, despite possessing the knowledge that the leased land measuring 1-kanal, 2-Kanals, 3-Marlas, 3-Kanals 12-Marlas, 12-Kanals 10-Marlas, 3-Marlas, 1-Kanal 8-Marlas, and 12-kanals 13-Marlas falling under Khasra Nos. 472, 812/250, 720-min, 745/746/748/752-min, Nil, 742-min, and 889/250-min respectively in Gulmarg estate, under the occupation of applicants (beneficiaries) stands earmarked for the purpose of construction of Hutments, in the Master Plan of GDA, notified vide Govt. order No. 137-TSM of 2005 dated 13.06.2005 and cabinet decision No. 98/7 dated 03.05.2003, dishonestly vested the ownership on the land to the applicants (beneficiaries). A perusal of Govt. Order interalia revealed that land measuring 15494-Kanals & 13-Marlas falling under Khasra Nos. 1 - 1126 in Gulmarg estate stands transferred to GDA for development of Tourist infrastructure in accordance with master plan.

It was found that land under occupations of applicants (beneficiaries) falls within above mentioned Khasra Nos. and as such the applicants (beneficiaries) were not entitled to benefit illegally bestowed upon them under the Act by the accused public servants. It was also found that public servants as a part of criminal conspiracy dishonestly vested the ownership/proprietary rights on the land measuring 02-kanals 3-marlas, 12-kanals 13-marlas, falling under Khasra No.812/250, No.889/250 in Gulmarg estate even to the attorney holders namely Musadik Shah S/o Syed Masood Shah R/o Ishber Nishat, Mushtaq Ahmad S/o Haji Abdul Aziz & Mushtaq Ahmad Burza S/o Abdul Ahad Burza & Manzoor Ahmed Burza S/o Ghulam Ahmed, who were not entitled to it.

It was also found that lease in respect of above land had since expired. All, this was done to confer undue benefit upon the attorney holders. The decision (minutes) of the meeting, was issued vide No.DCB/CDA/2008/Roshni/920 dated 06.06.2008. The accused public servants Rafi Ahmad, then Assistant Commissioner (Revenue) Baramula and Garib Singh, then Tehsildar Tangmarg, subsequently issued notices under section 8 (3) of the Act to accused beneficiaries S/ Abdul Hamid Dar, Mushtaq Ahmed Ganie, Mushtaq Ahmed Burza, Enar Smith and Manzoor Ahmed Burza respectively to make the payment in lieu of vesting of ownership of land to them under the Act. The applicants (beneficiaries) subsequently deposited the part of price of land determined by accused public servants as members of empowered committee.

In this manner accused public servant (members of the empowered committee) and other official(s) in league with accused beneficiaries (applicants/occupants) by abuse of their official position under a conspired plan, dishonestly in gross-violation of law/rules, processed and vested the ownership of the leased land to applicants (beneficiaries) in Gulmarg estate, meant for construction of Hutments, under master plan of GDA, to confer undue benefit upon the beneficiaries applicants/occupants and themselves. Some incriminating records have already been taken into possession by SVO and the investigation is in progress.

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