The Jammu Development Authority’s drive to remove the encroachment has provoked protests in the area. There are allegations that the administration is taking selective action to target the Muslim community.
Srinagar: The administration of Jammu and Kashmir is conducting an eviction drive in a Muslim tribal-dominated area of Jammu city. Many people have been affected by this, including two-month-old babies who have not even been named.
On Tuesday, January 11, houses of several members of the Gurjar-Bakarwal tribe, who had been living in the area for decades, were vandalized by the Jammu Development Authority (JDA). The administration claims that it is running a campaign against illegal encroachment.
However, due to this action, protests erupted in Jammu, the winter capital of the Union Territory on Wednesday. At the same time, this action was widely criticized in Jammu and Kashmir and anger was seen against it.
The mother of the child mentioned above, Nasrina Akhtar says, ‘How will I save my child from this cold? where shall we go? They broke into our house and took away our belongings. Nasreena lives in the Upper Paloura area of Jammu.
affected families the wire Told that JDA, Police and Revenue Department officials suddenly stormed the area on Monday morning and ransacked houses.
Saif Ali, 70, said, “At 8:30 in the morning the officers along with JCB came to our area and suddenly started breaking into our houses. We pleaded in front of them, but they did not listen to us.
According to another local resident Akbar Hussain, “Around 200 police and CISF personnel surrounded the area and did not allow anyone to enter and started throwing our belongings.”
He told that during this time most of the men had left for work, only women and the elderly were at home.
In the video of the action that has gone viral on social media, Gujjar-Bakarwal women can be seen asking the authorities to leave their houses while crying and pleading.
An old woman can be heard saying, ‘Ya Allah, how is this justice being done to us? Where will my children go? We have been living here for six decades. Take our land but leave our homes.’
According to locals, several members of the Scheduled Tribes have been living in the area for decades. Like other Gujjar-Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir, they also make a living by selling milk and other dairy products.
This act of sabotage has fueled widespread anger in Jammu and Kashmir. Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said that the administration is selectively targeting houses and making tribal people homeless. This is another way to target minorities and show their hatred.
He said that such communal decisions are taken from above, people need to stand against this atrocity.
A young activist told that after the abrogation of Article 370, Gujjars and Bakarwals are being harassed continuously in Jammu and Kashmir through such eviction campaigns.
Condemning this campaign, Guftar Chaudhary, chief spokesperson and political activist of Jammu and Kashmir Gurjar-Bakarwal Yuva Conference, tweeted, “Selective action is being taken on people in Jammu. Whereas what happened to the land occupied by BJP leader Nirmal Singh? It is very easy for JDA to use its power on poor tribal people.
Advocate MR Qureshi of the victims’ families said that the residents here were not allowed to resort to legal options.
He raised the question as to why people were not allowed to resort to other options like demanding regularization of land. Why was he not given notice and given an opportunity of being heard like BJP leader Nirmal Singh?
He told that according to the records of the Revenue Department, these families were living here before 1947.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, many people demonstrated in Jammu and demanded compensation for the affected families. The protesters were also supported by other community leaders, including Congress leader Mulla Ram.
The protesters, holding the tricolor in their hands, alleged that the JDA was selectively taking action to harass the tribal people in the area.
Meanwhile, JDA Vice President Pankaj Mangotra has denied these allegations and said that there is no truth in it. Action has been taken according to law.
An official release issued on Tuesday evening said that 17 kutcha-pucca houses built on the ground have been demolished.
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