All India Kisan Mahasabha wrote to the Chief Minister Uttarakhand opposing displacement threats to Van Gurjars (forest dwelling Gurjar community) by the forest department around Haldwani. And the denial of the right to education of their children. Their right to worship is also being hit with demolition of places to render Namaj.
AIKM State Vice President Bahadur Singh Jangi explained that the Van Gurjars were demanding public schools for their children for a long time but when the demand was not met Van Gurjars on their own expense constructed schools for their children’s education. Instead of recognising these schools, the Govt through forest department is demolishing them where 25-70 kids study in each school in areas of Bhuda Khatta, Nahar Khatta, Tanda, Dhimri, Tilpuri. The Forest department have used bulldozers to break wired demarcations near Van Gurjar homes in Tanda and Nahar khata and in the process damaged their crops and fodder stores meant for cattles. In Dimri Khatta forest dwellers were stopped from reciting namaz and places for offering namaz along with other amenities were destroyed.
There is a written history of religious minority Van Gurjars living in the Terai-Bhawar forests of Uttarakhand for 150 years who earn their living by animal husbandry and milk production. The BJP government is consistently attacking minorities in the state. Van Gujjars are a large community of forest dwellers whose livelihood actually help preserve forests, now their places of worship are demolished, schools bulldozed, their cattles, mainly thousands of cows and buffaloes are deprived from fodder, thousands of people’s livelihood and homes are under threat.
Ironically, in violation of earlier government orders the Van Gujjars are even being charged with theft of fodder and crops by the forest department.
CPIML Nainital District Secretary Kailash Pandey said the Dhami Govt is communalising the issue with the Chief Minister calling presence of Van Gujjar an act of land jihad. The government is snatching away constitutionally granted rights of citizens and this intended displacement of thousands of forest dwellers should halt immediately.