Former UPCC President protests,seeking forest rights for Van Gujjars

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Dehra Dun, Apr 26 (UNI) Former Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) President and Rajya Sabha member Harish Rawat today staged a one-day sit-in to protest the denial of forest rights to the Van Gujjar community in the state.

Mr Rawat was flanked by his party supporters and Gujjar community leaders who chanted slogans 'Congress party zindabad,' in the presence of around 1,000 people from the community and other villagers at Gandhi Park.

The Rajya Sabha member accused the B C Khanduri Government of being ''insensitive'' towards the plight of the community and said the Congress had twice in its election manifesto of 2002 and 2007, focused on the welfare of the oppressed people.

He claimed the tribal community was being denied forest rights despite the promulgation of the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (recognition of forest rights) Act.

He said they should be granted their traditional rights such as grazing, collection of wood materials, using herbal plants and so on as per the Forests Right Act .

At least one hundred nomadic Gujjars migrating to Garhwal have been detained at the Govind Pashu Vihar National Park by the forest authorities.

UNI PB HS KP1631

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