Pahalgam: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti on Monday visited the higher reaches of Pahalgam in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district to interact with the affected nomads of the area whose dhokas (residential huts) were dismantled by the government this week.
She said the government is pushing the nomads to the wall and warned the authorities against the “anti-people move”, saying that it’ll have serious consequences.
“This land belongs to these nomads who are living here for centuries. Whom do you want to give this land and why are you after these Gujjars and Bakarwals? Where will they go in this chilly season? These people are peace-loving and anything done to them forcibly will have serious ramifications,” Kashmir News Trust (KNT) quoted Mehbooba as saying.
Pertinently, scores of sheds and huts of the Gujjar and Bakarwal community were demolished by authorities in Pahalgam earlier this week, terming them as “illegal and unauthorized occupants”.
The affected community members told Mehbooba Mufti that while demolishing their structures, authorities told them to vacate the land as well. “This is cruelty and injustice. At least fear God and spare these poor people,” Mehbooba said.
“These nomads who are being evicted from the area have been protecting the forests from decades now.”
Mehbooba alleged that 24,000 kanals of land have already been provided to industries, asking the government to come clear on whom it is going to provide this land.
She was apparently referring to the reports from last month that the government has transferred 24,000 kanals (3000 acres) of land to the Industries and Commerce Department for “investment purposes”, with officials saying that an equal amount of land will be notified shortly following clearance from the Forest Department.
Mehbooba said since the implementation of Domicile Laws, a conspiracy is being hatched against the local population and the eviction of nomads is a part of last year’s August 5 decision, adding that such a move needs to be stopped forthwith.
“This is not Pahalgam only where people are being targeted, but in Bhatandi and other areas of Jammu as well where Muslims live. They are being targeted. Central Government that rules here wants to pollute our environment. It wants to handover the land to capitalist friends.”
“This is our land and we won’t give it to non-locals,” she said.
With inputs from KNO and KNT