Kashmir Times Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin has accused the brother of a former legislator from Jammu of forcibly barging into her government-allotted accommodation in the city last week, vandalising her valuables and theft.
The accused, who was leading a group of men, acted in “connivance with the estates department and some police personnel”, Bhasin alleged in a Facebook post on October 4. She also said that the accused men shoved and pushed her and her family members and she “had to fight back in self-defence”.
Bhasin has filed a complaint against Imran Ganai, who is the brother of former National Conference MLA Shehnaz Ganai, at Jammu’s Pir Mitha police station. However, the police are yet to file any first investigation report.
Pir Mitha police station house officer Nayat Ali said that they are investigating the matter. “We have received the complaint and enquiry is on,” Ali told Scroll.in. “But FIR hasn’t been filed yet.” Ganai was not available for comment.
Bhasin lives in a government-allotted accommodation for journalists since 1999-’00. “Can Estates deptt allot quarters to people without serving show cause notice, informing the previous occupants/ allotees without even waiting for them to remove their belongings,” Bhasin wrote in her post. “The Estates Deptt is promoting theft.”
However, estates department officials in Jammu claimed that the accommodation in possession of Bhasin had been allotted to a new tenant on July 31. “On August 13, a notice was sent to them that they needed to respond to within seven days,” said an official from the department. “After they didn’t respond to the notice, an eviction order was passed some 10-15 days after the first notification.”
The official said Bhasin and her family were given seven days to leave the accommodation, but did not do so. “Following the eviction order, the eviction was done and the department took over the possession of the property,” the official said. He said the new person who had been allotted the flat tried to enter it. The officer also said that Bhasin had received a copy of the eviction letter.
“Her eviction has happened almost two months after it was allotted to a new tenant,” he said. “Everything has happened under proper procedure. I cannot say whether that was the reason why her quarter was given to a new allottee.”
But Bhasin maintained that she did not receive any notice about vacating the accommodation prior before October 4. “Is this the new policy of the government to evict authorised allottees of government accommodation by not informing them and stealing their belongings by employing goons? Bhasin wrote in another Facebook post on October 5. “Or, are the goons acting independent of what the government is doing or not doing? Is the police acting at the behest of the administration or the goons? Or is there a nexus of all three?”