Survey shows decline in Tribal Migration of Gujjars

Srinagar: Heavy loss of precious lives and properties, lack of basic education, health and communication facilities and resections on nomadic movement in upper reaches of Himalayan region are causing a devastating impact on tribal life and economy of Gujjars resulting in recurrent declines in tribal migrations in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Reports reaching Press Bureau of India said that the findings came to the fore in a latest survey conducted by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, a National Organization working on Gujjars of Indian States.

Dr. Javaid Rahi, National Secretary of Tribal Foundation said that more than 37 percent of Gujjars who are migratory by tradition have relinquished their nomadic lifestyle during last 20 years of turmoil in the State, adding that there is a great apprehension that the tribal migration will become a history of the past in next few decades.

The survey revealed that in absence of Disaster Management Polices for Tribals of Northern states of India-the community suffers a heavy loss of lives and livestock due to landslide, forest fire, snow and hail storm, man-animal conflict every year and due to these natural calamities the percentage of migratory groups nomadic Gujjars are fastly going down too, he said.

According to survey, the main  reason of declining in Tribal movement is the killing of hundreds of nomadic Gujjars on upper reaches, during the turmoil.

Another reason is the restrictions imposed by the Security agencies and militants on tribal migration in border and strategic areas, Dr. Rahi added. He said that the restrictions are causing shadow over the fate of centuries old tradition of seasonal migration.

Pertinently, on Thursday state�€™s Rural Development Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar had informed the legislative assembly, which is currently in session that except Kargil no other region has been kept out of bounds for the nomadic Gujjars.

Sagar said that several complaints were received that security agencies have restricted the movement of nomadic Gujjars along the upper reaches in north Kashmir.

According to the study after closure of Forests in Jammu and Kashmir since 1996 for nomadic communities thousands of Gujjars relinquished the nomadic life style and turned into migratory labourers.

The Gujjars and Bakarwals nomadic groups are spread throughout the northern part of the Himalayan Range and they are facing a number of hardships in day to day life, due to non availabilities basic amenities on upper reaches, Dr. Rahi said.

The lack of education and health facilities, communications are also pressing hard the nomadic communities to give up their nomadic life styles and compelled them to opt for new professions, the survey said.

The survey further revealed that Gujjars who lead a lonely and tough life in the high-altitude meadows of the Himalayas and the Pir-Panjal are gradually settling down permanently in plain area.

The survey said the besides Jammu and Kashmir state, the nomadic Gujjars of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pardesh are also facing identical problems.

The survey suggested that government should formulate a plan to protect their nomadic identity by providing them education, health and communication facilities during their migration at upper reaches.

The survey further suggested that government should on priority formulate a disaster management policy for tribal and nomadic communities and the orders restricting the movement of Gujjars must be revoked immediately.