The Hush Post: Hundreds of aggrieved farmers of Kotkhai and Jubbal whose apple trees were recently chopped after the Himachal Pradesh High Court orders, have gathered at Rohru protesting the action of DFO and demanding an FIR against him and his immediate arrest.
The allegation against the DFO is that he did not verify the papers or revenue records before going ahead with chopping of the apple trees.
The protesters have gheraoed the office of the Sub Divisional Magistrate SDM. Talking to the Hush Post, former Mayor of Shimla and CPIM’s Sanjay Chauhan has said that till the time the FIR is not registered and the DFO is not arrested, they will not move.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Jai Ram Thakur has said that the government will present itself in the court. He also said that the government will investigate if any instance of wrongdoing took place against marginal farmers or if they have been harmed in the recent episode when the apple trees were chopped by the DFO.
Earlier last week, Theog MLA from CPI(M) Rakesh Singha was booked along with 55 others by Himachal Pradesh Police. The former Mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan too was booked.
The allegations against these two and 54 others were that of obstructing government officials from carrying out their duty. The officials were supposedly complying the orders of the court whereby the apple trees had to be chopped which were allegedly grown on government land at Badhaal, in Jubbal, Shimla. However, former Shimla Mayor Chauhan had then said, “The SIT in the garb of court orders was chopping privately owned orchards. However, the officials did not verify the ownership papers of the individuals.”
According to Chauhan, who was part of the protest, “When they tried to show revenue records of their land, the DFO did not hear them out and threatened them and immediately started chopping their apple trees.”