JKLF backs Gujjars, to protest their 'eviction from forest land' | india | Hindustan Times
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JKLF backs Gujjars, to protest their 'eviction from forest land'

india Updated: Jun 11, 2015 23:06 IST
Toufiq Rashid

Separatist leaders in Kashmir have closed ranks in criticising the "eviction of Gujjars" from their home in the Chenab Valley. In a statement late on Wednesday, the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front called for a one day protest and hunger strike over the issue on Saturday.

The JKLF also criticised the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government over displacement of Muslims from Jammu. The separatist organisation claimed that the PDP-led government was "destroying Jammu Kashmir at the behest of RSS."

The JKLF said that Yasin Malik will lead a delegation to Jammu on June 15 to take stock of situation on the ground.

"Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and his government has started implementing the RSS agenda on Kashmir, especially in Jammu. So-called rulers have started targeting minorities and recent killing of innocent Sikh youth and displacing Muslims from their homes and bulldozing their small homes are glaring examples of this,'' the statement said.

The PDP-led government is evicting Gujjars and Bakerwals - the nomads of the state, from forests in the Jammu region.
The move was even opposed by BJP minister Abdul Gani Kohli. Kohli on Tuesday blamed his party colleague and forest minister Bali Bhagat for "harassment" of tribals.

"I don't know why it (eviction drive) has started all of a sudden. It is a concern. I think the minister (Bhagat) is doing it at his own level. Neither our party (BJP) nor chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed will support any harassment to any community or a tribe," Kohli had told local media.

He said people (Gujjars and Bakerwals) have four-decade-old kothas in the forest areas of the Jammu region and their harassment was a "great concern."

Kohli also said that the "harassment" is not the mission of this coalition government.

Many Gujjar groups are claiming that the minister is transferring people on communal lines to facilitate the "eviction." Bhagat, however, has said, "He is trying to reclaim forest land occupied by the community."