Sikhs protest ‘eviction’ by forest, revenue officials : The Tribune India

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Sikhs protest ‘eviction’ by forest, revenue officials

They have been living in Qila Darhal tehsil since 1947

Sikhs protest ‘eviction’ by forest, revenue officials

People of Qila Darhal tehsil have warned to block the Jammu-Poonch highway if the administration fails to resolve the issue.

Shyam Sood

Rajouri, January 24

Various organisations, including the Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and the Sikh community, have been holding protests against senior revenue, forest officers/officials for “evicting” the Sikhs from their homes/agriculture land alleging the forest land has been encroached.

Members of the Sikh community residing in Qila Darhal Tehsil in Nowshera sub-district in Rajouri district, alleged that since 1947 they had been living in the area, and had constructed their homes and fields.

“Many among us and our ancestors have fought against Pakistani soldiers and tribesmen in 1947-48 and had forced the invaders to leave the Qila Darhal Fort and other areas” said Balbir Singh.

After the creation of Qila Darhal as a tehsil, the revenue officials in nexus with forest officials have changed their land records and by claiming their lands as encroached, has evicted about eight Sikh families so far, alleged those residing there.

“The Divisional Forest Officer, Tehsildar, Naib Tehsildar, Forest Range Officer and others, instead of taking action against the actual encroachers, have been harassing the Sikh families” said Zorawar Singh.

Shiv Sena activists have held protest at Sunderbani against the revenue and forest officials.

“Stop harassing those who had saved the mother land in 1947 and appeasing encroachers of forest land from a particular community on monetary consideration” they said.

Members of the Sikh community, Bajrng Dal and Shiv Sena have appealed to the Lt- Governor to intervene in this matter and also demanded CBI inquiry against the erring officials.

“In nexus with revenue and forest officials, many families from a majority community have encroached the forest land in Qila Darhal and other areas and have constructed their homes/fields” said Sushil Sudan, a former State Bajrang Dal president.

No action has been taken against such encroachers while the Sikh families living since 1947 have been evicted from their homes and agriculture land. This process should be stopped immediately, added Sushil.

People have warned to block the Jammu-Poonch highway if the administration failed to resolve the issue.

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