Illegal eviction of Gujjar, Bakarwal community under garb of new land laws atrocious: CPI(M)

Must be stopped immediately

Srinagar, November 17: CPI(M) Secretary Ghulam Nabi Malik on Tuesday said that the illegal eviction of Gujjar and Bakarwal community from their hutments by the authorities under the garb of new land laws is atrocious and must be stopped forthwith.

It is ironic that these nomads, who have been protecting forests for centuries, are being evicted illegally. If somebody, irrespective of his religion and political affiliation, was a land grabber, action should be taken against him, but instead poor nomads are being evicted from their dhoks (temporary shelters).

Under Dogra rule (1846-1947), the Gujjar-Bakarwal tribal community were given access to forests with proper registration, and families were allotted patches of land. A major chunk of these tribals are landless, shelter less entitled for dwelling rights on forest lands which they were using and managing as traditional inhabitants since centuries together.

The Center has failed to extend the Forest Rights Act-2006 to Jammu and Kashmir which could have protected the community. Under the Ac, rights of traditional forest dwellers stand protected against forced displacements, evictions from forest lands which the Gujjars, Bakerwals, Gaddis were facing for the last many decades. The extension of the Act will help in the rehabilitation of the nomads who are facing social pressures.

The issues of Gujjars and Bakerwals, who constitute a sizable chunk of population in J&K, are humanitarian and must be seen in humanitarian perspective. The government must stop illegal eviction of the nomadic community without any delay as they have nowhere to go in this harsh winter.

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