Mehbooba directive on eviction of tribal population from govt land

Mehbooba directive on eviction of tribal population from govt land
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Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has directed police and district administrations not to provide “police protection” for anti-encroachment drives that are being carried out by government departments against tribal population without prior approval of the tribal affairs department, according to an activist-lawyer.

The move could bring to a halt the anti-encroachment drives being carried out in Jammu city on the direction of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Supreme Court lawyer Ankur Sharma said at a press conference here today.

“The chief minister directed the IGP Jammu, police authorities and all the deputy commissioners not to provide any police protection for eviction of tribals without the approval obtained from the tribal affairs department,” according to an order issued by the special secretary in tribal affairs department, Mohmmad Sharief Choudhary.

Copies of the order were distributed by Sharma at a press conference here today.

The direction was passed at a high-level meeting of the tribal affairs department chaired by the chief minister on February 27.

The Jammu Development Authority (JDA) and revenue and forest departments are undertaking anti-encroachment drives in large chunk of lands for the past six months.

The state government earlier said in the Assembly that 1,510 acres of land had been encroached in the city.
The chief minister also directed that till a formal tribal policy is formulated and issued, tribal population shall not be disturbed, dislocated, he said.

“Mehbooba Mufti’s directive is not only giving immunity to encroacher tribals in Jammu but will also encourage more encroachments of Jammu lands,” Sharma said.

PTI