Locals including members from the Gujjar community told news agency VOK that a few days back Forest Department issued them a notice accusing them of encroaching forest land.
Forest Department Friday chopped down hundreds of apple trees in Kanidajan and its adjacent areas of Central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
“After serving the notice, the forest department not only chopped down hundreds of apple trees but also razed some ‘dokas’ to the ground,” they said.
Last year, India’s Consul General in New York Sandeep Chakravorty sparked a controversy by saying that India could follow the Israeli model in Kashmir. He said, “if the Israeli people can do it, we can also do it.”
The demolition of huts, apple orchids of nomads who have been living in these forest land for centuries is a grave concern for the native people of Kashmir. Though, they have been living there much before the inception of the modern state of India.
The recent incident in Budgam district of Kashmir where hundreds of trees chopped by Indian forces connects many dots. Is it the beginning to deprive the local population economically? The question remains if the forest land is to be retrieved then what is the need to chop hundreds of apple trees and who benefits from these actions. The deafening silence of the forest officials say it all, but their action is loud and clear that they have directions from the top officials who are directly controlled by New Delhi.