Bengaluru: The state government may now be able to make some headway in recovering its properties lost to encroachers as law and parliamentary affairs minister, T B Jayachandra confirmed on Thursday that after a three year wait, the President had signed the Land Grabbing Clearance Amendment Act, 2011.
Speaking to reporters here, the minister said that the modalities of implementing the legislation would now have to be worked out. And while the legal hurdles in setting up special courts to try land grabbers had been cleared, a decision would have to be taken on where these courts should be set up , he explained. The government has been under pressure from protestors led by freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy and former Lokayukta, Justice Santosh Hegde to recover its land taken over by encroachers and the Chief Minister has promised to act in the matter.
In other announcements, the minister, said the state Cabinet, which met on Thursday, had rejected the Justice Somashekhar commission report which gave a clean chit to the then BJP government, Bajrang Dal and the police in the attacks on churches in the coastal districts as well as Chickmagalur a few years ago.
The contradictions between the commission’s interim and final reports, suggested it had been submitted under pressure, he contended. Pointing out that the Congress had objected to the commission’s report even while in the opposition, he said the Cabinet had a detailed discussion on both its reports before rejecting them. “The government has not taken this decision under any kind of pressure. Legal opinion was taken before placing the report before the Cabinet,” he said.
While rejecting the Somashekhar committee report, the government has decided to implement recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission on giving protection to minorities and taking action against those who attacked places of worship. The NHRC has also suggested giving special training to the police in handling such situations. “The responsibility of implementing the NHRC’s suggestions has been given to the home ministry,” Mr Jayachandra added.
Siddaramaiah must quit if no CBI probe – H D Kumaraswamy
Accusing the government of making a farce of recovering its land lost to encroachers, Janata Dal (S) leader, H D Kumaraswamy on Thursday demanded that either Chief Minister Siddaramaiah rope in the CBI to investigate the land grabbing scam or resign. Arguing that the two special commissioners appointed in BBMP for recovering encroached land would make no difference as they were not empowered to clear encroachments, he told reporters that he would approach Governor Vajubai Vala if the government failed to hand over the matter to the CBI. “Over the last six years, successive governments have curtailed the powers of the BMTF, which was supposed to recover encroached land.
And now attempts are being made to further weaken it by appointing two IAS officers to do its job,” Mr Kumaraswamy charged. While during his 20 month tenure as Chief Minister, the government had recovered over 9,000 acres of encroached land, the present government was struggling to locate the lakes, which had been encroached upon by the powerful, he deplored. “Mr Siddaramaiah has no control over his officials, who even take on ministers in meetings. He is not capable of recovering any of the encroached land and must hand over the investigation to CBI,’’ he insisted. Taking a dig at energy minister, D K Shivakumar, Mr Kumaraswamy said he may be dreaming of becoming CM, but would instead soon go to jail. He alleged that the minister was creating an artificial power shortage.