Written complaint lodged against minister
Minister denies allegation
Forest Minister Choudhary Lal Singh Friday sparked another controversy by reportedly telling a deputation of Muslim farmers from Jammu “have you forgotten 1947”.
According to an eyewitness, Mohammad Mumtaz, a sarpanch, a deputation of farmers including Hindus and Muslim community members approached Lal Singh at his official residence at Gandhi Nagar, Jammu on May 18.
“We went to his official residence to apprise him about the problems being faced by people after an order issued by the Forest Department,” he said.
The eyewitness said when they raised the issue, the minister shouted, “O Gujron, 1947 pulligaya hai tuse ge (Gujjars have you forgotten 1947. Why have you come here?”
Year 1947 is known as darkest period in the history of subcontinent as over 3 to 4 lakhs Muslims of Jammu were killed by communal forces.
Mumtaz said one of the Hindu farmers, Rashpal Sharma, who was also part of the deputation, tried to inform Minister that they were farmers and had come from Udhampur to highlight some problem faced by the farming community.
“But he too faced anger of the minister. Lal Singh reportedly told him to return back to the place where from he has come,” the eyewitness said.
He said the minister instead of listening to them used abusive language against them.
Mumtaz said they had approached the minister because they were not being allowed to cut wood or trees on the private land and they wanted to seek permission from him.
“But unfortunately he did not listen to the delegation,” he said.
Feeling disrespected and threatened, the Muslims today approached Gandhi Nagar Police Station with a written complaint seeking registration of FIR against the Forest Minister for his remarks on 1947.
SHO Gandhi Nagar, Bishnesh Kumar told Kashmir POST that they have received a complaint from a deputation of people (Gujjars).
Mumtaz said the complaint among others was filed by Mohammed Hussain, Ghulam Haider, Mohammed Shafi, Mohammed Yousaf, Ghulam Ali, Mushtaq Ahmed, Bashir Ahmed, Nazim Malik, and Showkat Ali, who were part of the delegation that met Lal Singh.
Lal Singh has also faced severe criticism from the doctors for his rude behavior when he was Health Minister.
Meanwhile, Forest Minister Lal Singh denied that he made any comments to the delegation of people, who had visited his residence in Jammu.
“I never made any comment which would hurt the sentiments of any community,” he said adding “I always entertain people, who call on me”.
Singh said the allegations were baseless and he would do anything to protect interest of the general public.
“I was speaking to my Gujjar brothers in Dogri about the increasing temperature. I don’t know what issue has come up and why do they want to make issue out of nothing,” he said.
Singh said the forest protection is his top most priority and he won’t allow any element to play politics over it.