RAJOURI, Mar 5: Pleading for “special census” of lakhs of Gujjars and Bakerwals including the nomadic and semi-nomadic sect of their tribes which live in hilly terrains of Jammu and Kashmir, the community elders while participating in a programme organised by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, held here today, expressed distress over exclusion of large chunk of their population in the last census, in view of tribal migration.
The programme was organised to discuss issue related to ‘Census and Tribal Development ‘ which was presided over by noted scholar Dr Javaid Rahi and attended by a number of people from community including youth and students.
Dr Javaid Rahi in his presidential address stated that census plays a key role in policy formation which ultimately add to overall development of a tribe or community . He said when the last census was held in 2011 in the State, a large chunk of tribal community mainly nomads were under migration to upper reaches and they were reportedly left out in all the phases of the census.
He said as per census report 2011 the tribal population constitute 11.9 % of the total population of J&K and Gujjars-the main ST group by and large are not satisfied with the data released by RGI.
The speakers stated that in 2011 when census was held, around 6 to 8 lakh nomadic, semi nomadic and shelter-less, Gujjars, Bakerwals were not enumerated as there were no arrangements made by Government of India, to transport / send the enumerators to far flung areas of upper reaches where migratory communities live in.
They said in J&K nomads mainly lives in north western Himalaya and its Pir Panchal, Shavalik and Trikuta Hills ranges. The speakers suggested that Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India should hold exclusive mapping to list the movement of nomads in Himalayan region for correct enumerations.
Those who also spoke include Nazir Wasal, Farooq Trabi, Javaid Bajad, Khadam Kohli, Shierf Chechi, Barkat dedhadh, Gulzar Bajran, Kallu Gheghi and others.