69 detained for grabbing govt land
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Security forces have arrested 69 individuals accused of encroaching on government’s properties during an operation in the Batikot district of eastern Nangarhar province, the district chief said on Monday.
Haji Ghalib told Pajhwok Afghan News the detainees had usurped government lands measuring hundreds of acres over the past 32 years. Nangarhar Canalisation Director Ziarat Gul Rahil had sent a letter to President Ashraf Ghani about his department’s usurped lands.
In response, the president had directed the provincial governor to retain the public properties from their illegal occupants, Ghalib said. The operation in Batikot against land-grabbers was carried out in the third farm area.
It involved police chiefs of Batikot and Ghanikhel districts, the Batikot National Directorate of Security (NDS) chief and border police personnel, the official said.
Ghalib said houses illegally built on the usurped lands were demolished and 69 persons were detained. He said the detained individuals had grabbed farm lands in the second and third block areas and had been giving the lease fee to Taliban instead of the government.
“The grabbers were giving 2000 afghanis per half an acre to the insurgents, but they would not give the lease and irrigation fees to the government,” the district chief claimed.
He said millions of afghanis would end up in pockets of the Taliban and retaking of the thousands of acres of land from their illegal occupants would serve a huge financial blow to the rebels.
Ghalib said the occupants were happy with insecurity that shielded them from any crackdown. He said all encroached state-owned land would be retaken from grabbers.
One of the alleged land-grabbers, Mohammad Naeem, told Pajhwok Afghan News their poverty forced them into using the government’s land and they had no intention to usurp the plots.
He said they were from Kuchi tribe and had no land of their own. He urged the government to allot them land plots so that they relinquish government’s lands. Naeem claimed the Taliban had been forcibly taking lease from them.
Nangarhar police spokesman Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal confirmed 69 people had been arrested in Batikot district. Tens of thousands of acres of government and private lands have been grabbed in the country.
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