Srinagar, Feb 20: People belonging to Gujjar, Bakerwal community from Fakir Gujri area of Srinagar district today staged a protest alleging that the Wildlife Department has closed entry as well as exit points to the forest areas leaving them high and dry.
Scores of such people appeared in the Press Enclave and were seen raising slogans in favour of their demands, urging the LG-led administration to intervene in the matter for the early resolution of the same.
“On one side, the Government is talking of Forest Rights Act and on the other side; they are depriving us of our land, pushing us to the wall,” said Ghulam Qasim Tanja, Panch, Fakir Gujri, Halqa B.
He said that the Wildlife Department has erected boards stating no entry and exit “even as we have got our land on the other side while as our cattle are also dependent on the land which has been declared as a no-go area.”
The protestors said that if the Wildlife Department is carrying out the demarcation and are trying to ensure the presence of boundaries, “we have no problem with that.”
But, the protestors said that the point where the boards have been erected is not the right point for the boundary “because we have our land beyond. Our cattle will have no grazing ground if the department goes ahead with that,” they said.
They also said that the Wildlife Department has not approached the panchs, sarpanches of the area before going ahead with their plan. “They should have consulted us before going ahead with the no entry, exit points,” Ghulam Qasim Tanja said.
The protestors said that the forest boundary is from Sharsbal to Tathbal and then to Dekwan and that the area where the boards have been erected is not the right spot.
“Beyond those points, we have dairy farms, sheep farms sanctioned by the concerned departments; it seems that the FRA is just for the namesake and that there is no ground adherence to it,” the protestors said.
The aggrieved residents appealed to the LG administration to resolve the issue without any delay and not to force them to come out on road alone without cattle.