Vandalisation of apple trees: Over 200 trees destroyed in a week, villagers reject family dispute claims by police

Vandalisation of apple trees during nights in Srigufwara village leaves orchardists terrified and guessingOver 200 trees destroyed in a week, villagers reject family dispute claims by police


ANANTNAG: The cutting of trees during night hours in Mahind village of Srigufwara in Anantnag district has not only left the villagers shocked and frightened but guessing as well.

Unknown persons in last four days have chopped off over two hundred apple trees in village orchards during the night hours.

The apple trees chopped off by the unknown people include the varities like delicious and high density.

The first incident of tree chopping, according to locals occured in the village on the night of June 1 in the newly developed orchard area located in Hatigam side, a neighboring village.

Since the damage caused to the trees was not so massive, people took the incident as an isolated one and did not take a serious note of the same. What left the villagers worried and shocked when only a day after during the intervening night of 2 and 3 June, miscreants damaged the apple trees in three other orchards in other side of the village.

This time, villagers said, the miscreants had damaged at least 150 trees.

In two of the orchards, miscreants, local residents said, had cuth down the huge branches of the dozens of fruit bearing trees while in another newly developed high density orchard, around hundred trees faced the axe of the miscreants.

On Friday, the villagers again woke up to hear about the cutting down of dozens of fruit bearing huge apple trees in orchards belonging to two more villagers, Ghulam Hassan Wagay and Tanweer Ahmad Wani. However, the chopping of orchards, for the third time, villagers say, happened in another side of the village.

An farmer whose orchard was targetted in the third incident said that the miscreants have caused massive damage to their trees. “These orchards are our only source of survival. But we are at loss to understand who does this and why,” he wondered.

Rameez Rasool Bhat, whose high density orchard was damaged three days back said that they were devastated to see at least hundred trees in their orchard having been broken at the stem.

“We had grown this quality of apple trees two years ago. Since this variety of apple trees produces the fruit only after three years and next year we were hopeful of reaping the fruit of the hardwork we had done on this orchard. Before planting the trees we had to level the ground which consumed us lakhs of rupees. But i wonder how come someone be so cruel to chop off the trees of the farmers they care about more than anything else,” Rameez rued.

Even as police has taken cognizence of the matter but the frightened and helpless villagers only keep guessing as to who actually could be behind all this.

“Nobody in the village has any idea about who is behind this. Everyone knows how grim is the situation in Kashmir valley. People fear to come out of their houses only after the evening prayers and since outbreak of Pandemic most of the people offer prayers at their homes.

But in such a situation how come someone roam about freely during the night hours and ruthlessly destroy the orchards,” a group of villagers told Kashmir Times.

Though the police has lodged FIR into the tree chopping in the village but described the same as fake news saying it seems to be a family dispute. However , villagers discredited the claims saying how come seven families having their orchards in different areas have a dispute.

“Had it been family dispute only two families would have been involved. But in one week trees of at least seven families were damaged.

“Instead of jumping to the conclusion with out any investigation we hope police will go to the depth of the matter and expose and arrest the people involved,” said a village elderly.



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