Mafia grabs 100 kanals Forest land in Sunjwan, stalls demarcation

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, Sept 9: Emerging powerful with some political patronage, the land mafia in area of Jammu Sunjwan has managed to grab over 108 kanals of Forest and State land and made the joint team of Revenue and Forest Departments led by Tehsildar to flee, leaving behind ‘joint demarcation exercise’ commenced on the directions of Revenue Minister and Divisional Commissioner, Jammu just two days ago.
Official sources told the Excelsior that after directions from the Revenue Minister and Divisional Commissioner Jammu, the Deputy Commissioner vide his office No.DCJ/ARA/2016-17/280 dated 06-10-2016 issued order for the joint demarcation of Forest and some State land as some land mafia men, including one local PDP leader had managed to take control of huge chunk of Government land in Sunjuwan.
The mafia men were claiming that land in possession was private land and they had revenue record with them. The Forest department officials claimed that land belonged to them and some parties had been thrown out by them twice during last one and half year from the same site but they tried to re-grab the land.
Amidst political and bureaucratic pressure for the last several months, causing delay in the joint demarcation, the team finally launched its exercise hardly five days back. Tehsildar Bahu Mohd Majeed, DFO Jammu A D Singh and Range Officer Bahu Vinod Sharma, under the close supervision of SDM South and Assistant Commissioner (Revenue) Jammu started the exercise. For the first two days the work went on well but the next day the land mafia men appeared with lathis and weapons and started abusing the Government officials on duty.
They snatched the measuring tape from Revenue and Forest officials and virtually started manhandling them. The staff in the absence of police force started escaping for their lives. They threatened the officials of dire consequences and their elimination.
Sensing trouble, Tehsildar informed SHO Channi Himmat and concerned SDPO but the police arrived late and by then most of the Government staff had been made to flee by the hired goons of the local politician. The Revenue and Forest officials were suspecting that police seemed to have been influenced by the mafia. The land demarcation process has now been stopped and the District and Divisional Administration has failed to resume the demarcation work even after three days of this incident.
Tehsildar Bahu, Mohd Majeed in his letter to the Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, which is in possession of Daily Excelsior, has alleged that some people led by Mohd Rashid Malik (a local PDP leader) threatened him and his entire team and disrupted the demarcation exercise. They abused him and other officials and forcibly stopped the demarcation work. He demanded that security given to Rashid Malik be withdrawn and a case be registered against him and his men at Police Station Channi Himmat and adequate security be provided to him so as to perform his normal official duty as he has been facing threat to his life from these people. He also wrote letter to SSP Jammu.
Tehsildar also mentioned in his letter that land falling under Khasra No. 1524 Min upon which this land grabber was claiming his ownership was found to be Forest land during the exercise. The land which has been projected as `disputed’ under Khasra No. 1468, 1524, 1567, 1569, 1572 and 1576 the joint demarcation work was going on there. It was found that majority of land belonged to Government (Forest/ State Land) and some private people had managed record by tampering or other means. It was also pleaded to the Deputy Commissioner to cancel such wrong/ fake entries in revenue record.
Unfortunately even after three days of incident, despite writing to the DC and SSP Jammu by the Tehsildar and joint Demarcation Team, no FIR has been lodged against these people. It seems that land mafia under present regime has emerged as so stronger that even District and Divisional Administration is hesitating to take action against them.
Deputy Commissioner, Jammu Rajiv Ranjan when contacted said that he has sought day-wise report from the Tehsildar concerned. As the Tehsildar submits report, he would initiate an action. When asked why FIR was not lodged against the land mafia men and those people who abstracted Government officials to perform duty and started manhandling them, DC while down- playing the incident said he has not seen the letter and contents in it but was in the knowledge of incident. Ranjan claimed that he will seek the day wise report of demarcation exercise and then could be able to act further.
A senior Forest official on the condition of anonymity said that joint demarcation was started on their request because a large chunk of land in Sunjuwan/ Chatta area had been grabbed by some local land mafia men managing fake and forged Revenue record in connivance with field Revenue staff. Several times, the land grabbers were thrown out but one PDP leader Rashid Malik (Sheeda) and his men were terrorising the Forest field staff. Some structures have also been raised there.
Upon this, they requested Divisional Commissioner Jammu and Deputy Commissioner to depute their Revenue staff for join demarcation. The Revenue officials were not coopering since long but this Tehsildar Bahu, taking bold stand started the exercise for which the DC issued another fresh order of demarcation recently.
The exercise was going on smoothly and some locals were also there. The Team had sought police assistance before exercise and it was also mentioned in the DC’s order but no force was provided. The police reached late during that incident.
Though SHO himself came on the request of Tehsildar but the work could not be resumed. He alleged that some people in the power corridors are helping the land mafia and officers are feeling helpless to protect Government/Forest land. He demanded intervention at higher level so that joint demarcation work could be resumed shortly and Forest and State land be saved from the land grabbers.

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