Jammu, June 13, 2021: Members of Gujjar -Bakarwal groups have urged the Jammu Kashmir Government for bringing the law into force to ban the conversion of all types of grazing land for any other purposes. They also demanded that the grazing land converted to benefit a person or a party in the past must be retrieved back immediately.
They said this during a virtual meeting organized by the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation
Noted tribal research Dr. Javaid Rahi while speaking on the occasion, said the Gujjars and Bakerwals were the main animal-rearing communities and lakhs of nomads were solely dependent upon the grazing land to feed their animals.
He said “Grazing areas, pastoral land and other community resources belonging to a tribe, village, area or others may not be converted or vested to an agency or agencies for any type of usage, in future ” .
He said, “ such conversion of grazing land for other purposes are compelling tribes to sell-out their animals and leave their animals and the centuries old migratory culture and these changes widely affecting the livelihood of nomadic tribes such as Gujjars, Bakerwals, Gaddis and Sippis.
The speakers on the occasion said that being an animal rearing community, Gujjar and Bakarwals are solely dependent on the grazing land and government should come up with a law, immediately, and restrict the conversion of the grazing land, including change of title and ownership of the land.
They alleged that even after the implementation of the Forest Rights Act in Jammu and Kashmir, numerous attempts have been made by the forest department to restrict entry for the Gujjars , Bakarwals in grazing lands, and pastures on the ground of encroachment.
They appealed Lt Governor , Sh Manoj Sinha to intervene in the matter and pass a direction to relevant departments to defer the evection till the claims of Forest Dwellers are to be recognized by the Government under FRA.