Trapped Jammu-Kashmir Gujjars seek Govt.'s urgent help

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Srinagar, May 30 (ANI): An organization representing Gujjars has appealed to the Central State Governments to rescue many Gujjars trapped or stranded at different points in the mountain ranges.

"Unseasonal snowfall and heavy rain has put at high risk the lives of over three lakh to five lakh nomadic Gujjars and Bakerwals including women and children along-with millions of livestock, who have got trapped or stranded at different points in the mountain ranges of Pir Panjal, Shivalik, Trikuta and Zojila," said the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation in a release.

"We have sent urgent e-mail messages to President of India, Prime Minister of India, Union Home Minister and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister's Public cell with a request to start an immediate rescue operation in hilly areas of Jammu and Kashmir to save precious human lives," said Dr. Javaid Rahi, Secretary, Tribal Foundation.

Gujjars and Bakerwals, who move to the upper reaches as a part of their seasonal migration in April got trapped at upper reaches of Pir Panchal, Chattar Gali pass, Seoj Dhar and Aasha-Pati Glacier in Bhaderwah Doda, Anantnag, Kulgam, Zojiala pass, Jamia Gali, Pir Ki Marg, Chhapran, Upper Banihal, Wadwan, Trichhal, Mughal Road, Gurez Macheil sector and other areas due to heavy snowfall and rainstorm over the past few days, Dr. Rahi informed.

They have requested for start of rescue operations in different areas of Himalayas, asserting that there is an emergency like situation in upper reaches.

"This year the Gujjar Bakerwal tribe had started their bi-annual seasonal tribal migrations towards upper reaches by one month ahead of their routine schedule, due to unusual rise in daily temperature but later the season changed and they got trapped in mountainous range of Himalayas," the release further stated.

Gujjars constitute one-fourth of total 11 million population of State and are mostly nomads. They fall under the scheduled tribe category. he Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation has impressed upon various organizations working for tribals in the State to mobilize resources for providing necessary logistics to the tribes.

The office of the Meteorological Department has indicated that the present weather conditions will continue for the next few days. By Tahir Nadeem Khan (ANI)

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