Encroachments removed on J-K forest land, man booked

Jammu, Feb 2 (PTI): Two buildings on the outskirts of Jammu city were dismantled during a drive to remove illegal encroachments on forest land amid heavy stone pelting by suspected encroachers and their supporters, forest authorities said today.

A helper of Jammu Municipal Corporation tipper was injured during the drive even as police booked a man on the charge of land grabbing, they said.

“The Jammu Forest Division has carried out an anti- encroachment drive at Sunjwan forest belt, where two concrete structures were dismantled in the presence of Owais Ahmed, Duty Magistrate and Chandan Kohli, Sub Divisional Police Officer (Jammu East), ” V S Senthil Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) said.

“During the operation, heavy stone pelting was started by the encroachers and their supporters, in which one helper of Jammu Municipal Corporation tipper was injured while on duty”, he said.

The operation was carried out by a forest team headed by the Assistant Conservator of Forests and the whole operation was videographed, he stated, adding that a JCB and a tipper of the municipal corporation were pressed into service.

Showkat Ali, allegedly involved in many forest offence cases and a habitual forest offender, has also been booked by the police.

“The Forest Department has also requested the police to lodge an FIR against these offenders involved in many forest offence cases and are habitual forest offenders and accordingly FIR stands registered against Showkat Ali,” he said.

“Encroachers, who have constructed concrete structures on forest land, are Showkat Ali and Ishtiaq Ahmed Shafu of Bhaderwah belt of Doda district at Gujjar Nagar, Jammu,” he said.

Encroachers had planned and resorted to stone pelting by organising people from surrounding areas also, he said, adding that a vehicle of Jammu Forest Division was damaged by stone-pelters during the operation.

The construction work was earlier stopped by the forest staff and Sub Divisional Police Officer (Narwal) a week back due to a huge assembly of supporters of the encroachers, he said.

“Today’s operation was a successful one even though there was stone pelting and the encroachment in the form of structures were dismantled,” DFO said.