Tribals not getting benefits of Forest Rights Act in Rajouri: Altaf Bukhari

'Transportation of tribals for seasonal migration mere eyewash; govt ration supply to villages needs to be restored'
Tribals not getting benefits of Forest Rights Act in Rajouri: Altaf Bukhari

Rajouri, April 28: Apni Party President, Syed Mohammed Altaf Bukhari on Friday said tribals and others categorized people were not getting benefits of Forest Rights Act on the ground in Rajouri although the FRA has been implemented by the Govt in J&K.

The Forest Rights Act was implemented in Jammu and Kashmir by the Govt to benefit and give land rights to the tribals, and forest dwellers and their claims were also submitted to the respective committees framed by the concerned administration. However, the people including tribals, and other forest dwellers were not given rights as per the rules. Instead, they preferred to adopt bulldozer politics and deprive people from their constitutional rights, said Altaf Bukhari while addressing a worker’s convention in Taryath in Kalakote, Rajouri district.  

Bukhari was concerned over the shabby condition of roads, and inability of the administration in providing basic amenities to the people in Taryath and other areas in Rajouri.

He said that the poor and marginalized section of society, especially tribals in Rajouri like other parts of Jammu and Kashmir, were dependent upon the state and forest lands for decades. They made this barren land cultivable and their cattles would use the grazing yards. But they have been barred from grazing their cattles, and a drive on the name encroachment has also been launched.

Although the drive was stopped as the issue was raised with the Union Govt, he said that the Govt officials who were involved in evicting people and snatching the shelters and land from poor will be held accountable if Apni Party forms Govt in J&K.

He also referred to the seasonal migration and difficulties faced by the tribal people while shifting from summer to winter zone. “The claims that the tribals are provided transportation facilities seem to have failed as the deserving tribal people continue to suffer. The providing of transportation to the tribals for seasonal migrations appears not to be benefiting to the seasonal migration of tribals with their cattles to upper reaches,” he said.

He also demanded that the ration supply in the Govt depots in villages has also stopped and accordingly, the quota of ration per family should be enhanced on the subsidized rates. 

He also referred to the issues of mining workers in Kalakote and thermal power projects, while asking the Govt to fulfill the pending demands of the workers as early as possible.

“The people across Jammu region and Kashmir regions have been facing equal issues, and their demand for holding assembly elections are not being accepted citing various reasons. It appears that a political party is not willing to contest polls in Jammu and Kashmir. The NC, BJP, Congress Party and PDP have ruled J&K for over 72 years, and they did nothing for the people. However, when Art 370 on August 5, 2019 was revoked and J&K was downgraded from a state, it was the Apni Party which came into being and then we struggled hard to resolve the issues of the people,” he added.

He said that it was the Apni Party that ensured protection of jobs and land for the locals when the people were apprehensive of the central Govt’s approach and other traditional political parties were not willing to speak.

“We have no tinted leaders. Our leaders are committed to work for the people without discrimination. The people should vote and support the Apni Party in upcoming Assembly Elections in J&K. If we get a change, we will ensure good governance, equitable development by removing the disparity between rural and urban areas with regard to distribution of funds for development. We are committed to protect the natural resources, not allow non-local contractors to work in J&K and restore darbar move practice within 24 hours after forming the Govt,” he added.

He recalled that when the Apni Party was founded, there was no hope among the people. However, the Apni Party has given a ray of hope to the people of both the regions by representing them at the time of crises while other political parties were worried about themselves.

He also criticized BJP and its former legislator who represented Kalakote-Sunderbani for underdevelopment and failure in providing basic amenities to the people like drinking water, electricity, road, health, and educational infrastructure.

He also raised the issue of Jammu Migrants from Talwara, Poni, Reasi, Rajouri, and other places who had to abandon their houses and were forced to spend a life of migrants for decades till today.

“The Jammu migrants should be given equal status at par with Kashmiri Pandit migrants by providing them ration, relief package, accommodation, employment, reservation in educational institutions. The Jammu Migrants had to leave their homes decades back following threats but the Govt has not provided them facilities at par with the Kashmir migrants. This discrimination must end,” he added. He assured that he will raise the issue of Jammu migrants with Union Home Minister, Amit Shah.

He said that the Apni Party believes in peace, equality, and development.

“We reject the divisive politics which is being adopted by other political parties to incite passions on the name of region or religion. We believe that our future is associated with India. We do not want autonomy or self rule, but we seek restoration of statehood and holding of assembly polls for the benefit of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The people of both the regions of Jammu and Kashmir have been facing similar problems,” he added while appealing to the people to vote and support the Apni Party so that they can get their representation in a democratically elected Govt.

He criticized BJP for failing to develop Shiv Khori as a major tourist spot to promote religious tourism and provide development as well as employment opportunity to the locals.

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