In occupied Kashmir, the Gujjar Muslims have expressed concern over selective demolition in Bandi area of Jammu city and said that
The BJP and RSS were hell-bent on dislocating Muslims in Jammu. Media reports said that on July 18 the Finance and Forest Department demolished houses belonging to the Gujjar and Bakarwal community as a part of the demolition drive to root out people.
The Jammu district administration demolished houses of people, that it claimed, were living illegally in areas like Sidra, Ragoda, Bandi Mohalla, and Lower Dwada.
However, the demolition drive has raised eyebrows, with people questioning the selective nature of the demolition. Gujar leader, Chaudhry Nazakat Kathana told media that over five residential houses were demolished forcing the inhabitants to live under an open sky amid COVID-19 and scorching heat.
He said this was done on the instructions of BJP & RSS leaders, who don’t want to see any Muslim in the Jammu region. “Gujjar is just the name. Their targets are Muslims. They want entire Jammu to be Muslim free,” Khatana told media.
“A smear campaign was also launched against the Muslims of Jammu in different news channels,” he said. Khatana questioned why the houses were demolished. “We have been living here for 100 years and we don’t know why our houses were demolished,” said Riyaz Ahmad, whose house was demolished.
Another man, whose house was also demolished by the authorities, said that the BJP president, Ravinder Raina, who was talking about the making of Govt in J&K with the help of Gujjars, should come forward and explain his position.
“He only talks. Let him say a word against the demolition drive now,” Mohammad Zafar told media men.
Meanwhile, according to reports, a meeting of International Gujjar Mahasabha (IGM) was held under the chairmanship of Col Dev Anand Gujjar in which various issues pertaining to the Gujjar community were discussed.
The members from J&K, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, UP, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra participated through video conference in the meeting.
The members unanimously condemned the action of Jammu district administration for selective demolition of the houses of Gujjars in Jammu under the pretext of the anti-encroachment drive.
According to reports, while referring to the selective demolition of the houses of Gujjars in Jammu, they said, “The district administration issued a notice on 17th July 2020 to vacate the land within 5 days but demolished the structures on the very next day i.e. 18 July 2020 in utter disregard for law of the land, without giving any opportunity of being heard and against the principle of natural justice.” —KMS