FRA implementation will transmute lives of Gujjars, Bakerwals, Gaddis: Dr Rahi

Tribal researcher Dr Javaid Rahi with a group of tribals in Jammu.
Tribal researcher Dr Javaid Rahi with a group of tribals in Jammu.

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Sept 19: Forest Right Act (FRA) will not only end poverty and fear of eviction of tribal people especially Gujjars, Bakerwals and Gaddis but also has potential for transmutation of lives of lakhs of tribal people including forest dwellers of Jammu and Kashmir, who were residing in the forest for centuries but their rights had not been recognized properly.
This was stated by tribal researcher Dr Javaid Rahi while interacting with tribal elders, here today. He said FRA is a big relief for tribals and is a second gift after grant of ST in 1991 to Gujjars and Bakerwals of J&K. He termed FRA implementation a historic step towards development.
The certificate of lands distributed among tribes in Srinagar and Jammu by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha will not only end the fear of eviction among tribes but also built a sense of confidence and responsibility among them, Dr Rahi added.
He said tribals shall have no right to sell out or sublet any such land to anyone within or outside the tribe, after getting rights under Forest Rights Act (FRA).  He added that the Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers not only derive their livelihoods from forest resources but they celebrate ‘Jungle’ as an integral part of their culture and ethnicity.
Dr Rahi said, although it takes times to settle all the claims of forest dwellers in either way, but this time the tribals feel that Government of J&K and Lt Governor is committed to doing it in a time-bound manner, which is a matter of relief for everyone,” he said, adding, with the effective functioning of district and sub-division level committees, the claims filed by Gram Sabhas will get nods soon, he hoped.