BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: Law enforcement agencies have bulldozed dozens of makeshift structures in a late night operation to evict claimants from a disputed piece of land near Gilgit city.
Several people were injured last month after people from the three villages - Haramosh, Chamugarh and Jalalabad – exchanged firing and pelting each other with stones over a piece of land called Maqpoon Das located in the Gilgit district. The land is claimed by the residents of three villages.
“The operation was conducted late Friday night jointly by police and Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts,” said an official on Saturday.
“The decision to raze the structures were taken in view of the longstanding dispute that had got potential to trigger bloodshed.”
As a precautionary measure, the district administration deployed police around the land to keep the law and order situation under control.
In the wake of the demolition, people in Haramosh valley held a protest demonstration and blocked a Skardu highway, disrupting traffic for several hours.
The protestors criticized the government saying a peoples representative government was acting against the will of the people. “This is condemnable, we will not let the government usurp our land,” a protestor said. They threatened to long-march towards Gilgit against the action “which deprived them of their lands.” They termed the action illegal and tantamount to contempt of court as the issue was sub-judice in Anti-terrorism court.
Following the clash and registration of a case by police, an anti-terrorism court [ATC] issued arrest warrants against more than 216 men for being part of an armed conflict.
The district administration also sealed the disputed territory and deployed heavy contingent of police and Gilgit Scouts to avert further clashes. While further violence did avert, the situation remained tensed as parties refused to surrender their claim, resulting in continuation of the tension. The efforts from political and religious figures also failed to broker a peace.