In March 2020, the Public Works Department of Jammu and Kashmir demolished 50 shops near the main bus stand in Tral in south Kashmir, affecting the livelihood of 50 families and rendering hundreds of people jobless.
According to government officials, the shops were illegally constructed on state land and were causing traffic congestion in the vicinity of the main bus stand. Sajad Ahmad, tehsildar, Tral, told, LCW that 50 'illegal' shops were demolished as they were set up on government land. Firstly, these shops were illegally constructed; second, these were causing inconvenience to the general public," he said. Government officials said the land retrieved from the encroachers will be used for road widening.
The shopkeepers, meanwhile, claim that the shops were constructed by a local organisation in the area some 40 years ago when Tral was not much developed. This land was not illegally occupied by us; we have been running our business here for the past many years. This land was gifted to the Tral Union and did not belong to the state, Ishfaq Ahmad Kar, Tral Union president, told LCW.
Many shopkeepers have bank loans, and they were paying their installments from the earnings they were getting from their shops, but now they have to sell their lands to repay the bank debts, Kar said, adding that the demolition has left hundreds of educated youths jobless.
The shopkeepers have demanded rehabilitation. According to them, the previous government had identified 18 kanals (0.9 hectares) of land for them. It was decided that the Union will construct new shops on this land and a monthly rent will be paid to Municipal Committee Tral, but the proposal was shunned for no reason, Kar added. In a letter to Baseer Ahmad Khan, adviser to the Jammu and Kashmir government, the Tral Union said that they had planned to construct the new shops at their own cost. The letter mentioned that the shops would act as a boundary wall to the land behind belonging to the horticulture department, which would save the government INR 3040 lakh to build a separate wall.
The shopkeepers informed LCW that they had approached the district and divisional administrations of Tral for help but were turned away. Earlier, 29 shops were demolished in Pulwama town to pave the way for road widening.
Demand for rehabilitation
Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?
Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict
Procedural Laws, Central/State Government Policy, Other
The Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001
Section 8 [Conditions for vesting of rights over land from the state to the occupants]; Section 9 [Estate Officer shall have the power to evict and the assistant commissioner has to give five days' notice for eviction]
The Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Rules, 2007
Rule 8 [This rule lays down the procedure for eviction which requires the issue of notice of one month for surrender of land, failure to surrender which would entail the issue of an eviction warrant]
Jammu and Kashmir Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1988
Section 5 [If public premises is occupied by unauthorised occupants, the Estate Officer has the power to order an eviction, failure to comply with which can be met with as much force as deemed necessary by the Estate Officer to take possession]; Section 6 [The Estate Officer has the power to order the removal of unauthorised construction]; Section 7 [The Estate Officer has the power to order the demolition of unauthorised construction subject to certain procedural conditions]
Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute
What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Forced evictions/ Dispossession of Land, Lack of legal protection over land rights, Non-rehabilitation of displaced people
Out of Court
Status of Case In Court
Whether any adjudicatory body was approached
Name of the adjudicatory body
Name(s) of the Court(s)
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Whether criminal law was used against protestors
Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?
Reported Details of the Violation:
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Nature of Protest
Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:
Revenue Department, Municipal Committee Tral, Public Works Department (Roads and Bridges), District and divisional administration, Tral
PSUs Involved in the Conflict:
Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?
Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?
Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict: