Jammu & Kashmir Forest Minister Choudhary Lal Singh on Monday alleged that some politicians and the timber mafia are conspiring to discredit him as “communal’’ in an effort to derail his department’s ongoing campaign against the timber mafia and those encroaching on forest land across the state.
The minister, in the eye of a storm, also stuck to his stance that he would quit office as well as active politics if it was proved that he had threatened a delegation of visiting Gujjars by reminding them of the massacre of Muslims in Jammu region following Partition in 1947.
On Monday, Singh said: “I know the people behind this conspiracy…they conspired in a local hotel room in Jammu. One of them, who even collected money from the timber mafia, is staying in the hotel for the last couple of days.” He claimed he will “expose them” soon.
Singh attributed the tirade against him to his decision to stop issuance of ‘naksha (map) 25’, which enables farmers to transport felled timber for sale, and ban tilling of forest land under possession of people, including “influential politicians”.
Singh also said the state police will investigate antecedents of those who made “false accusations” against him.