By Owais Farooqi
Bandipora: Residents of Naidkhai in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district are resenting and protesting the occupation of large plot of land meant for a hospital by army this week.
The troops of 13 RR set foot on the plot on Thursday, and the residentsresented the move by throwing stones at them.
Locals say the resentment against the occupation runs deep, as the land was “donated by villagers” to Health and Family Welfare two decades back for setting up a hospital, but since then it has repeatedly been occupied by various government forces.
Police and paramilitary were brought in to chase away the stone hurling youth on Friday, and clashes persisted for some time. Residents said that government forces picked up four youth from the village during night to “intimidate the villagers”.
According to the village head, Haji Mohammad Akbar, who has the records of village land, at least 15 Kanals, of land has been occupied by the army.
“It was in 1993 when 13RR first grabbed this land and set up the camp there, and they stayed put till 2008”.
Later Jammu Kashmir police’s armed battalion occupied the land followed by IRP for few years. “The court despite giving order to IRP to vacate the land, remained undeterred,” Haji said. “2014 floods forced them to evacuate the land as it got flooded.”
The jubilation for the residents lasted for until Thursday, when troops of 13RR from Hajin camp came and began setting up a camp.
“The razor wires have been laid around the camp, which stations heavy vehicles and machinery” the residents said.
On Saturday residents observed a shutdown in the area. They also were demanding the release of the four youth picked by the government forces on Friday night for protesting the land occupation.
District Development Commissioner Bandipora Sajad Hussain told Kashmir Reeader that he would take up the matter with army authorities.
“I will talk to the CO Army regarding the hospital land occupied by 13RR and ensure that people do not suffer or face any kind of problem,” Hussain said.
A top police official in Bandipora, however, said that the district administration has told them that it was a state land.
“There was army camp prior to this camp too, so it was no big issue” he said.
Courtesy: Kashmir Reader

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