Asif Iqbal Naik
The situation in Kishtwar district today remained tense over the reports of Army taking over the land of Chowghan ground which is spread over 542 kanal of land in the heart of Kishtwar town.
The ground, considered as a symbol of ‘brotherhood and communal harmony’, today become the reason for protests as some people, morning walker found some mark at the extreme end of the ground reportedly given by the army. As soon as the news spread in Kishtwar town and its adjoining areas, large number people from both Hindu as well as from Muslim community assembled at Dak Banglow Chowk Kishtwar and held protest against the government move. Sensing trouble, Tehsildar Kishtwar Indeerjeet Singh Parihar rushed to the spot and assured the protesters that, “Not even an inch of Chowghan ground will be handed over to the army.”
Later Tehsildar Kishtwar held a detailed meeting with prominent citizens of both community and briefed them about the controversial issue. Tehsildar Kishtwar also assured the public representatives that the administration will take up the matter with senior army officials and clear the stand of government.
Tehsildar also informed the public delegation, “Neither government nor the administration has issued any order authorizing the army to take over the control of 25 Kanal of land to army.” While talking to Kashmir life, a local protester Roshal Lal said that people of Kishtwar are ready to sacrifice their lives but they won’t allow anyone including army to occupy the Chowghan land. He added, “In case government or administration have any such plan in future, it is high time for them to cancel any such order before law and order problems start in the area.”
Lal also said that the government is free to provide any other land to army but not from Chowghan ground. “Chowghan ground is the pride and crown of Kishtwar District and people will not tolerate if the administration will order any land transfer in favour of the army,” he said. The president public awareness front, Shakir Siddiqui added that people of Kishtwar will oppose the move with tooth and nail.
When contacted an Army official denied that army is trying to take over the control of Chowghan land. He said, “Existing Army unit at helipad Kishtwar is having 59 kanal of land and Army was in position of only 39 kanal of land and there is shot of 20 Kanals of land.”
He added that accordingly a request for measurement of the land was made by the Army to District administration. “It was District administration that demarcated the land and it is the responsibility of the administration to handover the position of 59 kanal of land to army,” he said.