Gujjars for national model to rehabilitate Kashmir tribes

Jammu, Jan.16 (ANI): Demanding adaptation of a national model to develop 'Forest Villages for Tribal and Nomadic groups' of Jammu and Kashmir on the prototype of other states of India, the Scheduled Tribe Gujjars-Bakerwals today called for recognition of their primitive culture by extending the National Conservation Act,1980 to Jammu and Kashmir to rehabilitate them legally and constitutionally in the areas belongs to their tribe since centuries.

In an appeal to State Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah , made through the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, a frontal organization of Gujjjars, the Scheduled Tribe communities sought the intervention of both for extension of identical legal provision in the state for Jammu and Kashmir tribes and pleaded vigorously for constitutional safeguards to rehabilitate lakhs of nomadic and semi-nomadic Gujjar Bakerwal population in such forest villages who are land-less, shelter-less and living below poverty line in hilly and border areas of the Jammu and Kashmir.

Dr Javaid Rahi , Secretary, Tribal Foundation, said that since the Conservation Act 1980 had not been extended to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, the nomadic communities of the region have suffered a lot.

The Gujjar-Bakerwal tribe, he said, are still nomadic and are shelter-less and pressing hard for identical rights available to all Schedule Tribe Communities of India for their development and rehablitation.

He said that there are thousands of tribal Villages in India that have been developed with the help of financial assistance provided by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, but no such facility had been extended to nomads in Jammu and Kashmir.

Dr. Rahi said that the development of tribal forest villages on national patterns could be helpful in exploring forest tourism potential in Jammu and Kashmir. By Tahir Nadeem Khan (ANI)

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