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Dr Rahi: 30 years after Scheduled Tribe, FRA major gift to Gujjars of Jammu & Kashmir

Noted scholar and researcher Dr Javed Rahi with a group of tribal people

JAMMU, Sep 19: Forest Right Act (FRA) will undoubtedly end poverty, fear of evection besides it has potential for the transmutation of lives of lakhs of tribal people especially Gujjars, Bakerwals , Gaddis  besides forest dwellers of Jammu and Kashmir, who were residing in the forest for centuries but their rights had not been recognized properly.

This was stated by tribal researcher Dr. Javaid Rahi while interacting with tribal elders, here today. He said FRA is a big relief for tribals and is a second gift after grant of ST in 1991 to Gujjars and Bakerwals of J&K.

Dr Javaid Rahi expressed gratitude to Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, Lt Governor Jammu Kashmir Manoj Sinha, Adviser Farooq Khan and Dr. Shahid Iqbal Choudhary Secretary Tribal  for speedy implementation of Forest Rights Act 2006 extended to Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 and termed it a historic step towards development.

The certificate of lands distributed among tribes in Srinagar and Jammu by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha will not only end the fear of evection among tribes but built a sense of confidence and responsibility among them, he added.

He said tribal shall have no right to sell out or sublet any such land to anyone within or outside the tribe, after getting rights under Forest Rights Act (FRA).  He added that the Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers not only derive their livelihoods from forest resources but they celebrate ‘Jungle’ as an integral part of their culture and ethnicity.

He said, although it takes time to settle all the claims of forest dwellers in either way but this time the tribal feel that the Government of J&K and Lt Governor is committed to doing it in a time-bound manner, this is a matter of relief for everyone,” he said, adding, with the effective functioning of district and sub-division level committees, the claims filed by Gram Sabhas will get nods soon, he hoped.

While replying to the queries, raised by the tribal elders he stated that those who are migratory tribes/groups should apply under both individual rights/community rights on pastures, dhoks etc. He said now tribal are not only entitled to title right on forests but they are eligible to cultivate, use minor forest produce except timber, access to water resources, besides having grazing rights on forest lands.


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