Sangarbani Forest Issue: The Story, So Far

Riyaz Ul Khaliq

KL NEWS NETWORK

SRINAGAR

A forest employee from stationed in Sangarbani Range in Pulwama district Friday alleged that he was “thrashed by PRO of J&K Finance Minister”.

Forest Range Officer Pulwama Nawab Ahmed Magray told CNS that after repeated requests from locals to reclaim the forest land from the occupiers. “From past couple of days our team was on job and we were busy in fencing work. Our employees used iron angle-burns around forest land that had been illegally occupied by some vested interest elements,” he said.

Magray added that on Friday, one Junaid Ahmad (PRO), arrived on the spot and asked forest employees to stop fencing work. “When the employees refused, he thrashed a Forester Muhammad Kabir Maliyar and threatened others while on his directions, his supporters uprooted iron angle-burns and took along with them,” he alleged.

However, when Kashmir Life contacted, Junaid Ahmad has other side of the story to narrate. “State land, including forest land, is being retrieved in Pulwama, however, some people are reluctant citing 70 year ownership of the land,” he said. “People have been approaching us for so many days on the issue. They even alleged that excesses have been made against their women. Finally, I along with other people of the area reached the spot to see the ground reality.”

Junaid said that when he reached the spot, “I asked the forest employees to stop the work as Pulwama District Commissioner and District Forest Officer were scheduled to assess the ground reality on Saturday.” “They had started concrete fencing of the retrieved land.”

“Meanwhile,” Junaid added, “people are claiming that I have security cover which is not true.” “Before leaving for Sangarbani Forest area, I contacted Rajpora police station and took some cops along,” he said.

“Whatever the claims of the forest employee are, there is no truth in it as I have not even talked to him,” he added. “Let the eye witnesses speak on the issue, not me and let us see what comes out.”

Junaid alleged, “the said employee is involved in a molestation case and a complaint has been filed against him.” “He is trying to frame me and get free from molestation case.”

When Kashmir Life tried to know the story from DC Pulwama, he said, “I have no exact knowledge about the issue.”

While DC was not in the loop, the SSP Pulwama did not respond to Kashmir Life calls.

However, a police official, who is not authorised to speak over the issue but was part of the developments, asserted, “whatever has been reported on the issue is an exaggeration.” “In fact, police had been approached by locals of the area about molestation charges against the said employee,” he added.

When contacted, PDP youth president Waheed Ur Rehman Para said, “the events which have been making circles so far are exaggerated. PRO of FinMin had gone to the spot to resolve the issue between people and forest employees, however, no one has been thrashed.”

“I contacted DFO as well and they will solve the matter amicably,” he added.

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