J&K's real estate belongs to its residents: JKCSF

Jammu and Kashmir Civil Society Forum (JKCSF) Friday asked the government to take the people of J&K on board before taking decisions on the future of its real estate – land, water and forests. In a statement issued here, JKCSF Chairman Abdul Qayoom Wani said the real estate of J&K belongs to the people of J&K by virtue of its history, heritage and ownership.

Reacting to the recent developments of demolition drives and eviction notices served to people living in forest areas, he expressed concern over the situation saying the populace, by and large, had developed “fear psychosis” regarding the land law amendments.

Expressing concern over the condition of villagers in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, Wani said they were living in tense fear of losing their homes after the Forest department served eviction notices to them. He said that the locals had alleged that two weeks ago the Forest department had issued eviction notices to the people saying that their orchards fell under “encroached” forest land.

“The villages where notices have been served in Budgam district include Kanidajan, Batiwudar, Jabbad, Branwar, Nagbal, Yusmarg and Darwan,” Wani said and quoted the villagers of telling JKCSF that they were scared of being rendered homeless after receiving eviction notices from the Forest department. He said similar fear and panic was witnessed in Kanidajan villages also.

“The authorities have axed hundreds of apple trees and dismantled mud dokas of the villagers,” he quoted the villagers having told JKCSF.

Wani said that it was true that these people were living in the forest area but they had been residing there for centuries now.

“Where should they go now,” he said in the statement.

Wani applauded the RTI Movement Chairman Raja Muzaffar Bhat for employing his tireless efforts in bringing awareness on the Forest Rights Act (FRA) in remote areas.