Forest dept sends more eviction notices to residents in Jammu’s Kathua

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The Forest Division has further issued eviction notices to the “unauthorized occupants” of the forest land in Kathua, Jammu. 

A show-cause notice reviewed by The Kashmir Walla, dated 16 November, stated that a resident of Chanda Nall village of the district was “occupying” 1.00 kanal land in Androte Fafal forest area.  The Divisional Forest Officer, Kathua, claimed in the notice that Hazi Makhan was “occupying” Forest Land and has constructed “Kacha and Pacca structures”.

The notice further stated, “In pursuance of section 79-A of the Indian Forest Act, 1927, undersigned call upon you show cause to represent your case personally or through lawyer within ten days at DFO office Kathua.”

However, notices like these have been criticized by several sects of society, including unionist leaders. President of Gujjar Bakarwal Youth Welfare Conference, J-K, Zahid Parwaz Choudhary, said: “On one hand the Govt is making tall claims to implement the Forest Rights act in J-K, and on the other hand eviction process is not being stopped one more notice issued in Kathua, by Forest Authorities Kathua.” 

“Amit Shah see here rights are being given to Tribals in J-K,” he added, “And this development is taking place in J-K, but we are here we will never let it happen in any cost if anyone would touch us they would face the serious consequences of it.”

Earlier this week, the government had evicted “illegal and unauthorized occupants” at Pahalgam. Later, former chief minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief, Mehbooba Mufti on Monday visited the higher reaches of the region and met the evicted families. She said that the government is pushing these nomads to the wall especially during the winter period after the government demolished Dhokas, a seasonal mud-huts used by the Gujjar community. She said the eviction of nomads is a part of last year’s decision, stating that such a move needs to be stopped forthwith.

President of PDP’s youth wing, Waheed Para, said: “While administration is busy plastering the image of ‘NayaKashmir’ to Country, behind this image they are evicting nomads from their makeshift hutments without even offering alternate rehabilitation. Fresh notices have been issued to ST community in Kathua Jammu”.

The National Conference leadership visited the families too and demanded strict action against government officials who “carried illegal demolition of Gujjar hutments”.

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