JAMMU, Jan 15: Facing eviction from lands, mainly in Jammu province, the nomadic Gujjar community today issued an appeal to Jammuites to tolerate them and their animals till the Government rehabilitate them properly through a piece of law, in the State.
They made this appeal in a programme organized by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation to discus issue of rehabilitation of nomads, held here today. The programme was presided over by noted Tribal researcher Dr Javaid Rahi while a number of representatives of Gujjar community participated.
Dr Javaid Rahi, in his address, said nomads are not “against anyone”, nor they are the ‘land grabbers’ or the ‘demography changer’ as dubbed by anti tribal forces. They are struggling for their livelihood and work hard to cater the requirements of their animals, in order to pull up their daily affairs of life. He said that they need support for temporary shelters from those who own land, may it be Government or private owners. Such evection can spoil their culture and livelihood, he said and added that locals should support nomads till the State Government come up with a rehabilitation plan. He said those who are land grabbers, should be taken to task but poor nomads must not be targeted.
The other speakers urged the State Government to adapt models of other States of India to re-rehabilitate nomadic tribes, who live migratory life and move from place to place in the State with their animals. They stated that the other States of India have developed “Forest villages” for tribal and nomadic communities and rehabilitated the STs with the support of Union Tribal Affairs Ministry. He said that our State can also achieve the goal by extending National Conservation Act-1980 and Forest Right Act -2006 to Jammu and Kashmir.
They said the STs of J&K are expecting a positive outcome from the committee constituted by State Governor N N Vohra in March this year under the supervision of Chief Secretary B R Sharma to prepare a draft plan to re-locate and re-rehabilitate nomadic tribes.
Those who spoke, included Wali Mohammad Chouhan, Raj Mohd Tedwa, Zaffar -ul-Habeeb, Ahsan Chowdhary, Wali Dhakkar and others.