SHOPIAN — An eviction drive by Forest Department turned violent after some members of the Gujjar community resisted the drive in South Kashmir’s Shopian district. At least a dozen people including forest employees sustained injuries in the incident.
The incident occurred in upper reaches of Zampather area of South Kashmir’s Shopian district.
Eyewitnesses said that a team from Forest Department arrived in the area to evict ‘encroachers’ from the forest land.
“First there was an exchange of heated arguments between the locals from Gujjar community and the eviction team. Some of the locals picked up sticks and asked the eviction team to retreat from the area. This led to a scuffle resulting in the injuries of at least 12 persons including some employees,” an eyewitness said.
The eyewitnesses said the forest eviction team was forced to retreat from the place after some employees sustained injuries. Some of the injured including civilians were taken to hospital for treatment.
The local Gujjars alleged that they are being evicted from their ancestral land. “We have been using this land from centuries and now they are trying to evict us. We are not going to leave this land,” said the locals.
They said several civilians were injured, two among them grievously.
Divisional Forest Officer Shopian Muhammad Ayoub said that they have asked police to register a case against the mob that attacked the eviction team. He said over 10 forest employees were injured after being attacked by the mob.
“We were following the court orders and to evict encroachers from the forest land, a team was sent there which was attacked by encroachers,” he said. (KNT)