The army has fenced off a piece of disputed land that belongs to Sheo MLA Manvendra Singh, son of former Union minister Jaswant Singh.
The ownership of the 26 bighas of land at Hapon ki Dhani village in Barmer district is in dispute, and a court in July 2012 had issued a stay order in the case.
On Saturday night, a local army unit reached the spot and erected fences around it. Kishan Singh, the guard employed by Manvendra at the land, said he was sleeping in a room constructed on the land when some armymen arrived and forced him to leave.
Singh said when he returned on Sunday morning, he saw the land had been occupied and fenced off by the army. The army had also set up its equipment on the land.
The army claims that it had bought 214 bighas of land in 1981, and had fenced off 188 bighas in 2010. But the remaining 26 bighas still belonged to the army.
However, Manvendra’s advocate Dungar Singh Mahecha said the the BJP leader had purchased the land in 2011. He said the army claimed ownership over the land in 2012, and so Manvendra had approached the court.
“The matter is sub-judice in the court of the divisional commissioner and we got a stay order on July 27, 2012. The army has illegally occupied the land and we will challenge its action in court,” said Mahecha.
Army spokesperson colonel SD Goswami said, “Our troops are only carrying out collective training in that general area. And since the case is sub-judice, we will not comment.”
Meanwhile, some local villagers also alleged that the army had encroached upon their land as well.
Madan Singh, who has property next to Manvendra’s land, said the army had infringed on his 12-bigha land while another local resident Swai Singh alleged his 3 bighas of land had also been occupied by the army.
The locals have also lodged a complaint in this regard at the local police station. Police confirmed they had received a complaint regarding the army occupying some villagers’ land, and were investigating the matter.