Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation- a frontal Gujjar Bakarwal organisation today demanded adoption of national model to develop 'Forest Villages for the Tribal and Nomadic groups' of Jammu and Kashmir by extension of the National Conservation Act, 1980 and Forest Rights Act-2006 to the State.
In a programme organized here by TRCF— the speakers said rehabilitation of nomadic Gujjars-Bakerwals is a humanitarian issue and sought Chief Minister's intervention for the extension of National Acts or identical legal provision in the State for tribes. They pleaded for constitutional safeguards to rehabilitate the lakhs of the nomadic and semi-nomadic Gujjar-Bakerwal in forest villages.
The speaker said community members 'to identify the black sheep among Gujjars-Bakerwals who are exploiting tribal since centuries'. They cautioned the community to be vigilant from land mafia.
Dr. Javaid Rahi, Secretary, Tribal Foundation who was presiding over the programme said these provisions , if adopted, would help in rehabilitating the landless tribal communities especially Gujjars-Bakarwals legally and constitutionally in areas belonging to tem since centuries.
Quoting RTI data received from Union Tribal Ministry, Ch Ghulam Sarwar Chouhan a senior functionary of the Foundation said that presently 2,474 forest villages, habitations exists in 12 States of India included 893 in Madhya Pardesh, Assam 499, Chattisghar 425, Gujarat 199, Jharkhand 24, Meghalaya 23, Mizoram 85, Orissa 20, Taripura 62, Utterakhand 61, Utter Pardesh 13, West Bengal 170 wherein tribal were rehabilitated but no such village exist in J&K.
"The RTI record provided by Tribal Ministry revealed that after the enactment of the 1980 law and Forest Right Act in 2006 a programme was launched during the 10th Plan for the integrated development of thousands of forest villages originally identified with about 22.5 lakh tribal families from all over the country which were rehabilitated except Jammu and Kashmir. The data said Rs.65379.04 lakh were released to 12 state for the purpose and no money was released to J&K as act was not adopted by the state, he quoted.
He said it was aimed at raising the Human Development Index (HDI) of the inhabitants, providing basic facilities and services such as food, safe drinking water, health care, primary education, approach roads, and other infrastructural facilities.
The speakers said that there are thousands of tribal forest villages developed with the financial assistance of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in different States, but the nomads of J&K were without any such facilities.
Those who spoke included Ch. Jamsheed Jazab, Mushtaq Banya, Aziz Hassan, Abdul Rashid Jangal, Arif Dhedadh, Dr. Shabir Kassana, Dilnawaz Hussain Chowdhary and others.