On Sunday morning, Showkat Parray of Krandigam village of Bijbehara woke up to learn that the apple trees in his orchard had been cut off. A worried Parray rushed to the spot to find the apple trees cultivated on 3 kanals of land damaged.
The branches of around 40 trees were cut and were lying scattered all over.
"I have been investing a lot on it and putting the best of our efforts expecting better returns in the future. But all our hopes stand dashed," a dejected Parray told the Greater Kashmir.
"I don't know who did this and why," he said.
Parray, a chowkidar of his village, has been instrumental in spearheading the campaign against the cannabis cultivation in the village.
"There were people who used to cultivate cannabis (Bhang) for easy returns and Parray was on the forefront in curbing this menace," villagers said.
They suspect people who didn't want the cultivation to stop behind damaging the apple orchard.
A police official said they have registered a case and launched investigations.
This is not the first incident of damaging apple trees in Bijbehara village this year.
Earlier, in June unknown persons damaged several apple orchards during the night in Mahand and Hati villages of Bijbehara.
The village, located in the Dachnipora belt along the apple valley – Bijbehara-Pahalgam route – is known for quality apple varieties.