Consult tribal people before launching new plans: Gujjars

Excelsior Correspondent
RAJOURI, Jan 8: Stressing that the nomadic and tribal people must be consulted before formation and implementation of new schemes – the members of Gujjar community today asserted that all the developmental plans should not be imposed on STs as they have a right to decide the kind of development they wish for.
They were speaking in a programme organized by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, here today, which was presided over by noted tribal researcher Dr Javaid Rahi and attended by delegates of tribal community of the State.
Dr Javaid Rahi, in his presidential address, said that the tribal community consultation is must before introducing new programmes for them or making any changes in the existing plans executed in the tribal areas. He said their nomadic groups still practice primitive culture and they should be developed in their own setup by providing them more economic autonomy, educational avenues and equality in social recognition.
He said imposing anything from outside is not good for their primitive cultural inheritance as it can spoil their ethnicity and way of livelihood. Quoting an example from 1968, he said their traditional breeds of sheep were lost when Australian Merino species of sheep were introduced in Jammu and Kashmir in early seventies by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research under Govt of India scheme. He said it was an unfortunate move for nomadic tribes of J&K which have gradually lost main native species of sheep, goats and horses during last fifty years.
‘We can’t switch back our traditional and indigenous breeds of sheep, goats and horses,” said Dr Rahi and added it was unfortunate that planners while introducing cross-breeds among the livestock did not plan to preserve the native species of the livestock of the Gujjars and the Bakerwals in any region since 1970. He said that the directives of Union Agriculture Ministry regarding preserving of native stock were also ignored.
Others, who spoke on the occasion, including Dr Akram Ali, Dilmer Chowdhary, Khadam Chouhan, Ali Mohammad Goolvi, Din Mohammad Chokar, Safeer Ali Gujjar and Mohad Tasduq Gaigi.