SRINAGAR: Tension is brewing in Jammu and Kashmir over an order by Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to reclaim the forest land in areas of the Muslim majority districts in the Jammu region. The perception is that Mufti has done this to appease his coalition partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The order, issued last month by the state General Administration Department (GAD) headed by Mufti, asked the authorities to reclaim the forest land in the areas of Sunjwan, Bathindi, Raika and Sidhra of Jammu, where Muslims, many of them from Kashmir Valley, form the majority.

This has made Syed Ali Shah Geelani's Hurriyat again raise the demography flag, maintaining that the move was trying to bring about a change of this in the concerned areas.

"RSS agenda will never be allowed to succeed in Jammu and Kashmir. We shall oppose and foil it. The first target of the RSS is Jammu region wherein key positions are being accorded to the RSS men," Geelani said at a convention in Srinagar which was attended by separatist groups, civil society, prominent citizens and some journalists..

President of Muslim Federation Jammu, Abdul Majeed, said the GAD order is the beginning of BJP's plan to "drive out Muslims" from Jammu. "Jammu used to be a small city. All the new areas that have come up over the years are based on forest land. If the government wants to reclaim the forest land, let them start from areas like Roop Nagar as well which is an illegal colony and where Hindus are in majority," he said.

Majeed said the colonies built on forest land were ignored by the GAD's order in order to please the BJP leaders, "It is unfortunate that the BJP is training guns at the Muslims of Jammu using Mufti saheb's shoulders," he said.

"On one hand, the government talks about integration of the two regions while they have started driving out Muslims from Jammu," he said.

Majeed said his association has approached the chief minister's office and they will meet him soon, "We will put the facts of the matter before Mufti saheb on June 5. If the government doesn't change it order, we will then take a decision of the future course of action," he said.

Echoing Geelani's views, Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir accused the state government of ordering transfers of Muslim bureaucrats and other government officials in the state along "communal lines".

He said the transfers are taking place from the secretariat to district and tehsil levels."This is being done to facilitate the issuance of the permanent resident certificates to the non-state residents in Jammu," he said.

Cabinet spokesperson and J&K's Education Minister, Naeem Akhtar, could not be reached for his comments.