Jodhpur (Rajasthan): Police have arrested a Pakistani migrant for allegedly leading a mob of encroachers that attacked an eviction squad of the Jodhpur Development Authority during a raze drive in the Chokha area, officials said on Saturday.
Bhagchand Bheel was arrested late on Friday and booked for interfering in the discharge of public function by government officials, they said.
Bheel has had previous run-ins with law enforcement officials and was also accused of duping and exploiting Pakistani migrants, allegedly through a nexus with the police and the local land mafia.
“We are checking their visa status and their role in illegal activities and previous cases against them,” said a police official.
The Jodhpur Development Authority on Monday conducted an anti-encroachment drive to free government land in Sector 2 and Sector 3 of its residential project in Rajiv Gandhi Colony. During the raze drive, it demolished at least 70 structures, mostly belonging to Hindu migrants from Pakistan.
Protesting against the demolition drive, the encroachers allegedly pelted the eviction squad with stones. A bulldozer engaged in the drive was damaged and its driver suffered injuries in the stone pelting.
On Thursday, Jodhpur Development Authority Commissioner Navneet Kumar was removed from his post and has been put on ‘Awaiting Posting Order’.
The victims had claimed that they purchased the plots by paying between Rs 1-2 lakh to people from their community on the assurance that nobody would remove them.Three of the victims later lodged a complaint with the po
lice, accusing Heeralal Bheel and Bhairaram Bheel, both migrants on long-term visas, for allegedly duping them to sell illegal plots that they later learnt belonged to the development authority.
Rajiv Gandhi Colony police station SHO Anil Yadav said an investigation is underway.
Hindu Singh Sodha, chief of the Seemant Lok Sangthan, which works for migrants from Pakistan, said the organisation has been raising the demand for a fair investigation against this nexus.
“On a number of occasions, we have pressed for breaking this nexus. This nexus was also behind the mass suicide of 11 migrants on August 9, 2020, in Lodta village,” said Sodha.
He also alleged that many migrants are forced to return to Pakistan after being victimised by this nexus.