Kashmir's farmers demand compensation for land taken for fencing

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Jhangar (Jammu), Aug 3 (ANI): Farmers in Kashmir said they have not been compensated for the land taken away by the authorities to set up fences along the border with Pakistan.

India began setting up a long fence along the disputed border with Pakistan in the mid-90s to stop militant groups and illegal immigrants from sneaking into Indian territory.

Pakistan initially objected to the fence, but India hurriedly set it up at least 2-4 km away from the border line in some places, saying they were coming under heavy firing from across the border.

As a result, vast areas of fertile land in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, were left outside the fence, leading to protests from Indian farmers.

Farmers said they were yet to receive compensation despite running from pillar to post.

"We were solely dependent on our land for our livelihood...Our large tracts of land have been acquired for border fencing and building of road ...none of the administrative officials came here...we met district officials including district collector and sub-divisional magistrate twice or thrice but we haven't received any compensation or any other facility for our land," Rahmat Ali, a resident.

However, officials refuted the accusation, saying the delay in payment was due to the lack of necessary documents.

"Some villagers have not received compensation as their land as papers were incomplete...the process is going on and we are making their papers so that they can receive the compensation for their land," said Jaipal Singh, district development commissioner, Rajouri.

Authorities have long accused Pakistan, with which it shares a roughly 1,800 km-long border, of aiding militant groups and helping the smuggling of guns, a charge denied by Islamabad. (ANI)

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