An anti-encroachment drive by the Jammu Development Authority in Jammu turned violent in which two two dozen people have been injured. The injured include the vice chairman of JDA, a police officer and a local journalist.
Reports said a posse of JDA officials, Jammu and Kashmir police and CRPF reached the Nikki Tawi area next to fourth bridge, Bhagwati Nagar, Jammu at around 7 am.
“As the police contingent approached the area to demolish the ‘illegal structures’, the locals, mostly Gujjars, initially protested and then started pelting stones at the JDA and police teams, forcing them to move back,” the report quoted an eye witness as saying.
In the attack, around two dozen people, including the JDA VC, SHO Bakshi Nagar and a local journalist were injured.
While accusing the JDA of being selective, the protesting locals said they should have been intimated before the demolition drive. “Where were the JDA officials when we’re raising the structures? Today, when we have spent lakhs on our buildings, they are out to bulldoze them,” said a protesting woman. “Before razing our structures, they have to demolish illegal structures raised by former ministers and MLAs. Why are these drives selective?”
However Gujjars are accusing that the drive was undertaken just to harass Muslims.
Choudhary Nazakat Ali Khatana, a local Gujjar leader said that the structures raised adjacent to fourth bridge at Nikki Tawi area were not illegal.
“The locals have electricity and water connections and they are paying the government all kinds of taxes. “We also have the ration cards and Aadhar cards,” he said, adding, “JDA drive was launched only to harass Muslims.”
Meanwhile Awami Ittehad Party chief Engineer Rashid while reacting to the incident has said that the drive was an attempt to “bulldoze” colonies of Muslim dominated areas in Jammu region.
In a statement, Rasheed said that the way early in the morning authorities raided Beli Chadana locality and tried to demolish the houses of inhabitants is condemnable and Government should never be selective and communal in its approach.
“There is no justification for “shelling and Lathicharge” on innocent inhabitants. One should not forget that their ancestors have been either “massacred” in 1947 or have forced to flee to Pakistan, leaving their huge properties here, which were later occupied by people of other communities.”