FIR Against Singha and 56 others for leading the fight against land loot by BJP government
An FIR has been filed against CPI (M) MLA Rakesh Singha, Former Shimla Mayor Sanjay Chauhan and 55 others, while they were leading the fight against the land loot by the BJP government of the state. The FIR has been registered under section 143, 342 and 186 of the Indian Penal Code.
[In a report yesterday, Socialist India had shown how the current BJP government is continuing with the policies that are aimed at destroying the small apple farmers of the state.]
Singha and other leaders were leading the small farmers who were resisting the attempt to cut their apple trees. The allegations against these two and 54 others are that of ‘obstructing government officials from carrying out their duty’. However, the reality is that the SIT in the garb of court orders was chopping privately owned orchards. The officials did not even verify the ownership papers of the individuals. The owners — Surinder Gamta, Sohan Lal and Gian Chand, whose land is ‘under question’ produced papers of ownership to the officials including a District Forest Officer, who had come to implement the court orders. In spite of this DFO continued to chop the apple trees. It is at this point that Singha and others gheraoed a naib tehsildar.
Rakesh Singha , meanwhile, reacting on the FIR has said that if any court of law can prove that the land in question was not owned by the farmers, he will resign from Vidhan Sabha.
It needs to be mentioned here that the talks between the farmers and ADM Shimla continued till 2:00 AM yesterday after which agreement was made that “no apple tree will be felled without checking the papers of land ownership. As per the high court judgment, no action will be taken against ‘encroachments’ up to 5 bighas of land. Further, FIR will be filed against the DFO who gave orders to cut the apple trees of 2 farmers without checking the papers of land ownership”. Most of the farmers who are being affected by the administration’s action are small and marginal farmers. However, in spite of the agreement administration has continued with its threat, intimidation and harassment of the apple farmers. It is clear that state government is submitting wrong figures in the High Court through the forest department. Neither SIT nor the forest department is giving any heed to farmers who have legal papers of land ownership.
CPI (M) HP State Committee in a statement has demanded immediate intervention from the chief minister to put an end to this regime of threat and fear which the small farmers are being subjected to. A senior officer should be given the responsibility to verify the list submitted by the forest department so that correct picture can emerge in front of the judiciary. It further demanded that all ‘encroached’ land on which small farmers are doing apple cultivation be regularized as per the provisions under the section 163-A of the Land Revenue Act, 1954.
If the government fails to take adequate steps then the movement will only be intensified in the coming days.
Socialist India reproduces the reports in the local newspapers: