Admin refutes allegations of eviction of nomads from Pahalgam forests

The district Administration Anantnag Tuesday refuted the allegations that nomads were being evicted from the forests of Pahalgam and made shelter-less.

“The allegations being made by certain people that some nomads (Gujjar-Bakerwals) are being made shelter-less and their dhokas are being demolished are baseless,” Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, Kuldeep Krishna Sidha told media persons here.

“We have only removed unauthorised structures and fencing and handed it over to Forest or Wildlife department. None of the dwellers who have forest rights have been disturbed,” he said.

Sidha said there were at least four dhokas in Lidder and Mamal but those had not been even touched.

The clarification comes a day after Peoples Democratic Party chiefMehbooba Mufti visited the Pahalgam forests and accused the government of evicting the nomadic population, demolishing their dhokas and making them homeless.

She had also warned the government against such an anti-people move, saying that consequences of such a move would be dangerous.

“We have carried three encroachment drives in Pahalgam and that is being monitored by a High Court bench headed by Chief Justice, Financial Commissioner Revenue, Chief Secretary and Divisional Commissioner,” Sidha told media persons here.

He said 1035 kanal land had been retrieved from the encroachers.

“The drive was live-streamed and its photography and videography was submitted to the High Court along with revenue documents. So we have not harassed anyone,” the DC said.

He sought the cooperation of people to conserve and preserve the Forest and Wildlife land along Lidder steam and beautiful environs of Pahalgam.

“I urge people not to pay heed to these statements made by certain elements without checking facts on the ground,” the DC said.