Gujjars, Bakerwals demand compact ‘tribal policy’ for J&K

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, June 10: Demanding a compact ‘tribal policy’ for Jammu and Kashmir, the members of Gujjars and Bakerwal communities today urged the Government to rehabilitate the nomadic and migratory tribes who are landless and houseless since centuries.
In a programme organized by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation here today to discuss ‘Tribal Issues’, it was stressed upon the State Government to settle nomadic Gujjars and Bakerwals enabling them to get, education, health and other facilities properly.
The programme was presided over by a well-known researcher of Gujjar community, Dr Javaid Rahi while a number of tribal elders and youth were also present on the occasion.
Dr Javaid Rahi in his address stated that tribal communities must be developed without disturbing their own way of life and according to their own genius. He said that only a well-defined tribal policy can help in eradication illiteracy, economic instability and cultural shyness in nomads. He said such policy if formulated can pave a way for grant of rights on forest and other ancestral lands on prototype of other tribes residing in different states of India.
The speakers said tribals in J&K are facing a number of hardships and issues like dispossession of land, violence, poverty and loss of identity and demanded to notify a comprehensive and visionary policy for tribal which can restore the confidence among these communities.
They said due to non-existence of a tribal policy for protection and development of STs in a holistic manner, the tribes, especially Gujjars and Bakerwals which constitute more than 80% of tribal population of the State, are lagging behind in every field of life.
The speakers stated that a tribal policy must be formulated with the aim to address each of these problems in a concrete way. They also list out measures to be taken to preserve and promote tribal cultural heritage and languages.