The Indian paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force plans to grab over 5,000 square metre of pastures in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district, reports said on Monday.
Locals from Bran village of the southern district assembled at the Press Enclave in Srinagar and staged a protest against what they said was ‘land grabbing’ by the paramilitary.
The protesters said that without any consultation or taking locals into confidence, the CRPF has initiated a process to occupy 100 kanals or 50585.7 square metre of grazing land.
They said this land is dotted with walnut and other trees.
“It will prove disastrous for us. Our cattle gaze in these fields from centuries and today they are forcibly taking this land from us,” one of the protesters was quoted by a local news agency.
Reports said that the CRPF troopers have been regularly visiting the grazing land and are in the process of demarcating it. “We raised the issue before Deputy Commissioner but to no avail. Today we met Divisional Commissioner Kashmir who assured us of action that will be in the interest of people,” the protesters said.
“It is a grazing land and if it will be occupied by paramilitary troopers, our cattle will die,” they said.
The Indian military establishment has in the past taken over swathes to establish garrisons and station camps for its troops, on many occasions such take overs have been without the consent of the locals.
Kashmir is the world’s highest militarized zone by most estimates with India stationing over half a million troops in the disputed territory.