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Javed writes to Govt for urgent measures to protect rights of forest dwellers

Rajouri: Chairman Block Development Council Koteranka (Budhal-Old, Rajouri, Choudhary Javed Iqbal has appealed to the Jammu and Kashmir government to take immediate measures for addressing concerns of the traditionally forest dwelling population.

In separate letters to Principal Secretary Revenue Mr Shaleen Kabra, Commissioner Secretary Forests Ms Sarita Chauhan and Director Tribal Affairs Ms Rehana Batul, Javed Chowdhary raised the concerns of tribal communities traditionally dwelling on forests, and requested for immediate extension of Forests Rights Act.

He said that a vast majority of the area he represents is populated by the Gujjar tribal communities who have lived in and around the forests for centuries.

Javed Choudhary and his wife Shazia Kausar have recently contested DDC election from two Territorial Constituencies spread over 42 Panchayats in Rajouri district.

“During our extensive campaign of the area we came across one central issue that revolves around dwelling in and around forest areas”, he said in a memorandum to the concerned officers.

“In view of sweeping changes in several land related laws in the recent months, we have found people deeply worried about their dwelling status”, he said.

In absence of clear law regulating dwelling in the forest areas, people suffer random harassment and intimidation at the hands local authorities.

“I am therefore writing this to invite your attention towards this crucial issue affecting survival and dignity of lakhs of people”, he said in the representation.

As a consequence of the recent constitutional changes, Javed said, the extension of the Forests Rights Act to Jammu and Kashmir is the urgent need to bring this massive public anxiety to an end.


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