The Hush Post: Theog MLA from CPI(M) Rakesh Singha has been booked along with 55 others by Himachal Pradesh Police. The former Mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan too has been booked.
The allegations against these two and 54 others are 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 says, “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.”
Subsequently, Singha, Chauhan and others allegedly gheraoed a naib tehsildaar.
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.
The FIR has been registered under section 143, 342 and 186 of the Indian Penal Code.
Rakesh Singha has, meanwhile, said that if any court of law can prove that the land in question was not owned by them, he will resign from Vidhan Sabha.
Former Mayor of Shimla Sanjay Chauhan says, “The state is showing a brazen attitude against the orchardists in Shimla. People have to possess land for livelihood and the successive governments had framed policies to regularise this land in the names of the farmers as per section 163A of Land Revenue Act, 1954 but it has not been implemented till now.”
Apart from Singha and Chauhan those who have been booked include Sansar Khlasta, Sunder Lal Dhanta, Joginder Sharma. The names of others booked are not known.