Mian Altaf counters Lal Singh over Gujjars’ eviction

Senior National Conference MLA Mian Altaf on Wednesday countered Forest Minister Lal Singh over the latter’s remarks in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday that Government would put halt on the eviction of Gujjars and Bakerwals from State forests.
Mian Altaf counters Lal Singh over Gujjars’ eviction
File Photo

Senior National Conference MLA Mian Altaf on Wednesday countered Forest Minister Lal Singh over the latter's remarks in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday that Government would put halt on the eviction of Gujjars and Bakerwals from State forests.

"Gujjars and Bakerwals are my heart and soul…No one among them will be disturbed," Singh had said yesterday, in response to the demand on grants for Forests   and other departments held by him.

An angry Altaf however today created uproar in the Assembly saying Lal Singh wanted to create an impression that Gujjars and Bakerwals are illegally occupying the forest land.

"Gujjars aren't living on forest land. I am telling you that it is not a question about his style. I am warning this government which is enemy of people, and the BJP which is the enemy of itself as well as the country, not to create this impression," said Altaf, responding to a report carried by a newspaper. 

The NC legislator waived a copy of the newspaper in the Assembly, inviting the attention of the House towards the issue.

His remarks that BJP was enemy of people invited sharp reaction from BJP members who stood up to create noisy scene.

Altaf was supported by Congress legislator Vikar Rasool. "Gujjars and Bakerwals are living near forests for past more than 60 years," said Rasool. "We will not allow anybody to touch them (Gujjars)."

Amid the noisy scenes the Deputy Speaker Nazir Ahmad Gurezi intervened, saying Gujjars were not living on forest land.

"This is a fact that Gujjars are not living on forest land," said the Deputy Speaker. 

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