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Gujjars-Bakkerwals not being nominated as members in FRA committees: Saleem Choudhary

Seeks action against bureaucracy for selective approach

SAMBA, September 05, 2021: Apni Party, Schedule Tribe, President, Saleem Choudhary has demanded action against bureaucracy for not nominating Gujjars-Bakarwals as members in the sub division and district level committees constituted by the Govt. for the implementation of Forest Rights Act in Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing the media, the ST Wing President, Saleem Choudhary said that the FRA was implemented in Jammu and Kashmir and accordingly, they have to settle claims on the forest land of the nomads and forest dwellers. “How can they settle claims on forest when these committees have yet to include members of tribal community or their elected representatives, PRIs etc., in these committees,” he said.

He further said that the trust of the tribal community is shaken over the half-hearted effort of the authorities concerned as the committees do not have nomads as their members in many districts of Jammu.

Even in Gram sabha, he said, the nomads have allegedly not been nominated/included as members in the committees at panchayat level to settle their claims.

“If the members from tribal community are not included in these committees to decide claims on forest land, the justice cannot be accepted from these committees. Hence, efforts are on to implement FRA on papers, not on the ground. The respective district administration should be made answerable by the Govt for their negligence and action against them should be taken so that they do not discriminate against the nomads,” he said.

In one such case, he said, Deputy Commissioner, Kathua has issued an order constituting district and sub divisional level monitoring committees in which not a single member of Gujjars – Bakarwals has been nominated as member even as they are the beneficiaries of FRA.

“The administration has neglected an elected tribal member from Bani, and nominated a non-tribal member in the committee which shows a biased approach towards the tribal community and has become of worry for Gujjars-Bakarwals in J&K,” he added.

He demanded revocation of the order of DC Kathua and demanded action from the Govt. for not including tribal community members even as they have elected representatives from the community.

“The selective approach and deliberate ignorance leaves everyone in shock and utter distressed about the fate of FRA in J&K and the much hyped welfare schemes for the tribals,” he further said.

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