Sect's tiff with govt employees triggered eviction

Sect's tiff with govt employees triggered eviction

Sect's tiff with govt employees triggered eviction

An attempt to evict low-ranking government officials from their residential quarters in Jawahar Bagh triggered the campaign against the members of the obscure sect which clashed with the police.

The now-deceased leader of the sect Ram Briksh Yadav, who had occupied the sprawling orchards in the heart of the town in January 2014, eyed the residential quarters of the Department of Horticulture employees within Jawahar Bagh as the office of the parallel administration he ran in the 280-acre locality. About two months ago, members of the “Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi” group had tried to evict the fourth grade employees of the Horticulture Department, triggering sit-in protest by them in front of the collectorate here.

“The Horticulture Department employees soon received support from residents of the surrounding colonies, which also housed government servants,” Hitendra Singh, a private school teacher staying in the vicinity of Jawahar Bagh, told DH. Srikrishna, another resident, said the pressure of government employees and a failed bid by Yadav to restore power supply to the orchard hastened the process to evict the encroachers. In March last year, the district horticulture officer of Mathura had written to the police and the divisional commissioner that the members of the sect had ravaged over 2,000 trees in Jawahar Bagh.

The members had felled the trees of species such as guava, mango, amla, jamun and bael for firewood. More than 3,000 people, including women and children, have been staying in Jawahar Bagh, which virtually was an autonomous region having its own ‘parliament’, jails and justice delivery system.

The occupants raised cattle, owned flour mill and went to makeshift toilets. A witness said that though their huts looked ramshackle, they had high profile visitors who drove SUVs and expensive imported cars.

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