The Bakerwal community in Patnitop area of Udhampur district Wednesday alleged that the forest department is not allowing them to graze their cattle and sheep on the Patnitop grazing areas.
The community members said that the department has fenced the area in Patnitop, which they were using for grazing of their cattle. The move according to them is aimed to forcing them to vacate the forest area.
Muhammad Abbas, one among the Bakerwal said that since 1993, at least 700 Bakerwal families were migrating from Mansar to Patnitop for grazing their cattle but the step taken by the forest department has caused immense hardships to them.
“From past two years, we are being targeted by one way or another,” he alleged, adding that “we appeal the government to look into the matter.
We must not be forced to take streets,” he added.
Despite repeated attempts, the Minister for Forest, Ecology & Environment, Choudhary Lal Singh didn’t re ply to the repeated phone calls.