In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Indian authorities have demolished several houses of the Muslim Gujjar-Bakerwal community mem-bers in the name of ‘eviction drive’ in Roop Nagar area of Jammu region.
Residents of the Roop Nagar area said that the authorities had left them homeless by vandalising household items including water tanks in the chill-ing winter.
“We have been living in Roop Nagar for the last 60 to 70 years. The authorities came and razed our houses, destroyed cattle sheds, broke water tanks” said Nazir Ahmad who identified himself as head of the village.
He said, “We were not given any notice before the demolition. We are living in makeshift huts in the same area.”
In a video viral on social media residents of the area are seen crying and pleading with authorities not to demolish their houses.
“What is happening to me? What kind of injus-tice is being done to us? Where will my children go? We have been here for 60 years and who will shelter us now. We are telling you [authorities] to take the entire land but do not destroy our house. We are earning our livelihood by doing labour,” an old aged woman was heard saying in a video.
Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali, a former minister be-longing to the Gujjar community, asked authorities to provide shelter to the homeless people. He said in a tweet, “Whatever is happening is unacceptable”.
The drive was jointly launched by the district administration, police and JDA as they pressed men and machinery into the demolition in Roop Nagar in the Jammu city.
PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti while quoting the video on Twitter targeted authorities for selective demolition and said that it was targeting minorities.
She said, “admin’s selective demolition of houses in Jammu & rendering tribal homeless is yet another method to vent their hatred by targeting minorities. Seemingly these communal policy deci-sions are sanctioned at the top [PM Modi]. People need to stand up against such atrocities.”
In the past several years JDA expelled several hundred families from their native areas in the Jammu city, the majority of whom belong to the Muslim Gujjar Bakerwal community.
Jammu Kashmir Gujjar Bakerwal Youth Wel-fare Conference President Zahid Parwaz Chaudhry also called out the recent demolition drive as ‘selec-tive’ and an attempt to target Gujjar Bakarwals. He said that carrying out a “selective” demolition drive against Gujjar Bakarwals shows how much con-cerned the Modi government was about their devel-opment. “People have been left homeless. Where will they go?” he asked.
The Gujjar Bakerwal community members were harassed during drive launched by the Jammu De-velopment Authority (JDA).
The JDA admitted that it has ‘retrieved’ land worth crores of rupees from the Gujjar-Bakarwal community members in the Roopnagar area of the Jammu district that has left at least 17 families without shelter in the chilling winter.
“During the drive, 17 structures raised upon the JDA land were also demolished. Around 75 per cent of the retrieved land was fenced,” the JDA added.—KMS