SRINAGAR: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti on Monday visited Lidroo village in South Kashmir wherein the government while implementing its sinister agendas on the ground is tormenting the Gujjars and Bakarwals under the garb of new land laws.
Mehbooba Mufti while slamming the dispensation over its ulterior motives to hound the depressed communities of Jammu and Kashmir said that the actual displacement of people has started most unfortunately with the forcible eviction of ‘Gujjars and Bakarwals’ from their pastures. “The Gujajrs have been using log and mud sheds in pasture lands since times immemorial during the grazing season. They are part of the forest and our environment. Sadly, a drive has been launched to demolish these structures which they use as temporary shelters during summers. Their families have been harassed, using strong arm methods where in desperation they wanted to resist their main support to their livelihood. Does this mean that these nomadic tribes can no longer go to pastures? Is that the Part 2 of this displacement scheme? Who do they intend to sell the forest land to?,” asked the former Chief Minister.
She asserted that as already reported in the media, the government has requisitioned – 24 thousands kanals of Forest Land for setting up industries there. According to Ms Mufti that will be a disaster for not only the Forests and environment but also cause in the Gujjar community being rendered homeless. “While hundreds of new provisions of laws have been introduced without any consultation with local stakeholders and mostly not beneficial to us, the few laws that could result in some benefit to the residents to the state are not being implemented. One of them is the Forest Act of 2006, which could provide a legal framework for Gujjar and Bakarwal rights on Forest land. Similarly, while lands are being requisitioned in bulk, the Central land Acquisition Act is not being implemented, so that the landholders of J&K do not receive any benefit therefrom,” Mehbooba said.
She added that the illegal and immoral assault on Gujjar and Bakarwal population is a wake-up call for all of us and that the dislocation has begun with them and it will hit all of us. “I call upon the government to immediately stop this illegal encroachment and harassment of a marginalized and most vulnerable community, who will do everything to peacefully resist this and defend their rights,” she said.
Mehbooba said that August 5, 2019 was not an event but beginning of a process of complete disempowerment and displacement of the people of J&K and that the process has been unfolding in parts with most of the new laws targeting land, resources and population of J&K and Ladakh. Every aspect of our life is threatened. “The new domicile laws have opened a flood gate of not just bona fide entrance but for a planned mass influx of different kinds of people which its planners think could be part of its strategic management of the Muslim majority state. This influx in the coming years will change the complexion of the state and all its regions and sub-regions including Jammu, Ladakh, Pir Panjal, Chenab beyond recognition. The land laws have thrown wide open the most vital resource of the region which is their land. The scenic beauty of the state is a vital input into its economy, which with new influx will be a sure casualty and with the plans of opening industries on a large scale, Kashmir could look no different from Gorakhpur,” said the PDP President.