Bearing brunt of Pakistani shelling, J&K Gujjars ask for safe housing

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Jammu; The Gujjars, residing in the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir state, have demanded from the Government to settle them permanently at safer places in the wake of consistent heavy firing on Line of Control and International Border .

The Gujjar community which mainly lives near LoC and International Border, whose livelihood depends on livestock, also wants the Government to help shift their animals along with them.

This demand was made in a programme organised by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation held under the chairmanship of veteran scholar Dr Javaid Rahi to discuss issues of border firing viz a viz Gujjar tribe.

Dr. Javaid Rahi while condoling the death of three members of a Gujjar family killed in heavy shelling by Pakistani forces near the Line of Control (LoC) in Krishna Ghati sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district, stated that “Every year dozens of Gujjars and their livestock get killed near the border, hundreds are injured and thousands of people migrate to safer places during the firing.But it requires a permanent solution with regard to security of their tribe”

He said that “Gujjars and Bakerwals, who reside along the Indo-Pak border, become the first victims of cross-border firing.

Following the heavy arms firing on border areas of Line of Control going in last few weeks, people living within near border with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir were asked to shift to safer places.

The speakers have appealed the State Governor Satya Pal Malik to give directives to local authorities to provide permanent places to tribal community . Besides , they demanded shelter, food and other facilities to the Gujjars and to arrange fodder for their livestock.

The speakers said the Gujjars and Bakerwals are the main tribal group of Jammu Kashmir and constitute 20 percent of total population of the State who occupy frontier areas along the border from Poonch to Lakhanpur and Uri Karnah to Gurez and Kargil. “During last one year, many members of the tribal Gujjars community have been killed and hundreds others injured in the shelling and firing along the LoC and IB in Jammu and Poonch districts, triggering migration of hundreds of tribal families from the border hamlets,” they claimed.

Speaker asserted that during the 1947, 1965 and 1971 wars, the Gujjars faced the major brunt as they were killed in large number along the LOC and the International Border.

The speakers included Ishtiaq Misbah Chowdahry, Ch Wali Mohd, Khadam Hussain, Mir Mohd Gujjar, Mohd Rizwan and others.

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