Bathindi, Sunjwan residents protest eviction notices

BJP MP jump in support, assures legitimate help

Tawi, Jan 30: Bathindi and Sunjwan areas of Jammu outskirts came to stand-still after a large number of residents including women hit the roads against the eviction notices served to them by the authorities.

Amid rains, around 500 people assembled at Bathandi Chowk and raised slogans against the government.

They were opposing the eviction notices served to them as a part of ongoing anti-encroachment drive across Jammu and to retrieve the state land. People, mostly permanent residence of parts of Kashmir region and other ‘disturbed' districts of Jammu, said that they had purchased the land in question and were already paying water and electricity bills.

The protesters appealed to the government to regularise their colonies like other illegal colonies which were regularised by the government in the past.

To calm down the tempers of the people, officials from the civil administration and police also reached that spot and tried to convince the protesters that notices were served to the illegal commercial places.

The police stopped the march while a sub-divisional magistrate tried to persuade the protesters to disperse.

The sub-divisional magistrate invited the demonstrators for talks and assured them that no building, residential or commercial, constructed over a small piece of land would be demolished.

A protester said the eviction notices had taken away their peace of mind.

“We have built our dwellings after investing our life's earnings to provide shelter to our children. What will happen to us if they destroy our homes?,” he said, asking, “Where will we go? We are also the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and this country.” They have been holding the land for over 70 years and, instead of regularising the area, the administration is serving notices, he said.

Meanwhile BJP Rajya Sabha MP Gulam Ali Khatana, who is also a resident of Bathandi area, jumped into support of the protesters and assured them that he would take up their grievance with the Lt Governor and the Centre.

People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader Varinder Singh Sonu, Democratic Azad Party (DAP) leader and Advocate Aslam Goni and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Rajesh Gupta joined the protesters and launched a scathing attack on the BJP for the “anti-people” drive.