HRANA News Agency – Most residents of Rowshan Kooh village of Mazandaran province are of the Baha’i Faith, and this issue, in recent years, has been the cause of discrimination, especially in the field of construction in the village. In the last instance the Department of Natural Resources of Mazandaran has claimed the forest land has been occupied by the people who have been using them for more than 70 years and has called for the destruction of a number of houses owned by Baha’is living in this village.
According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Rowshan Kooh is one of Mazandaran province’s villages which is known for its Baha’i residents. In recent years, systematic and extensive efforts have been made to make the Baha’is leave the village. Among these, is the lack of building permission or the buildings certificate of quality to the Baha’i residents of the village.
This is while the constructions by the Muslim residents of the nearby villages are done easily.
In another action recently, Department of Natural Resources has claimed that 14 plots of land in the village of Rowshan Kooh was formerly forest and the Baha’i residents of the village have occupied the forest and used it for agriculture and construction. Therefore, that office has requested expropriation and extermination of these fields. This is despite the fact that the fields are over seventy years age – it means before the land reform in 1963.
Department of Natural Resources has avoided providing maps and aerial photos of the 1960s and 70s in their claim. Also, all the competent authorities have been notified to avoid providing aerial images and maps of the area, in the 60s and 70s and before.
It is likely that, one of the reasons that Rowshan Kooh maps and aerial images are not being provided to the Baha’is of the village is that if the current aerial images would be compared to the aerial image of 1960s, it would become clear that none of the lands that have been claimed by Department of Natural Resources are the component of the forest land.
In addition, in the recognizing announcement by Department of Natural Resources – Reference Number 8752-31 / 2/54 – which is attached to the claim form, it has been claimed that; “Rowshan Kooh Village, according to the map provided (at the same time), belongs to the Department of Natural Resources. However, the Department of Natural Resources is avoiding to provide the maps which are a part of diagnosis of natural resources announcement, and other related authorities are also not allowed to deliver the maps to Baha’is in the village. This is while even in the deed – No. 237-22 / 6/85 ‘exceptions in the local area’ it has been mentioned that Rowshan Kooh village is a part of these ‘exceptions’.”
The owners of these lands who have been summoned to the court are as follow:
Morad Gholinejad, Human Gholizadeh, Saed Gholizadeh, Shahrokh Nabipour, Anvar Moslemi, Navid Derakshan, Mansour Rohani, Hojatullah Naimi, Mino Naderi, Ehsanullah Rohani, Behzad Zabihi, Ghobad Hashemi, Kiavash Hashemi, Nader Derakhshan.