A dozen injured as Gujjars clash with police in Kashmir

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Phallan Mandal (J-K), May 10 (ANI): A dozen people were injured when a mob of Gujjars clashed with the police at Phallan Mandal village in Jammu on Saturday.

The clash, in which more than dozen, including police personnel were injured, was over the evacuation of land illegally encroached by the Gujjars.

According to the police, the land measuring around 10 hectares belonged to the village and it was leased to the Forest Department in 1991 for social forestry. But the Gujjars had usurped it illegally.

Later, the Forest Department fenced the land and carried on with afforestation activities.

When the Gujjars did not pay heed to the request of the Forest Department authorities to vacate the land, the police had to be summoned.

Consequently, the Gujjars started pelting stones at the police and the personnel of the Forest Department.

"We requested them to vacate the land encroached by them. But they did not listen to us. We deployed police force. But since the number of policemen was less, the Gujjars had an upper hand. They started pelting stones on the policemen and our personnel," said Roop Avatar Kaur, Divisional Forest Officer (Social Forestry).

The police had to resort to firing of tear gas shells to curb the attack by the Gujjars. A couple of huts and other structures erected by the Gujjars also caught fire during the clash.

The Forest Department shares the benefits of social forestry from the leased land with the villagers. These include grass and allied livestock fodder apart from giving away 75 per cent of the harvest to the villagers who actually own the land.(ANI)

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