The census 2011 has shown a four percent decline in the population of Tribal population in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir. The Gujjars and Bakerwals through Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation-a frontal organization of community has filed a petition before National Commission for Schedule Tribes, New Delhi and demanded an impartial inquiry to identify the reasons there is a decline.
The petition reads that the population of Gujjars/Bakerwals – Schedule Tribes- in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir has recorded a decline of around four percent over the previous census, as provisional results of Census 2011 displayed on the website of Registrar General of India under Union Home Ministry. The community in response to this demanded an impartial inquiry headed by a retired judge into the matter.
as per a statement the Gujjars have pleaded before the commission to intervene and issue specific directions in the matter
The petition futher reads that on the one hand the records of census 2011 recorded a growth of 1% Tribal population is recorded in J&K’s total population and reflected as 11.9 % STs in the state as compare to 2001 census in which the Tribal population was shown 10.9 % only and on the other side in Poonch 4% population of Gujjars/Bakerwals shown less as compared to 2001 census .
Dr Javaid Rahi, a researcher and Secretary of Tribal Foundation has informed that a petition has been filed before Tribal Commission yesterday and demanded that commission should appoint an inquiry into the issue to identify those who are against true enumeration of Gujjars/Bakerwals .He has said, “Our population in Poonch and Rajouri districts is above 55% but due to various reasons we are being shown less in numbers.”
In 2001 ,the total population of District Poonch was shown as 372613 and out of which the Schedule Tribe (Gujjars-Bakerwals) population was reflected as 149018 which constitute forty percent (40%) of the total population in Rural and 5% in Urban areas, said Dr Rahi while quoting the census record. He further added that as per 2011 census the total population of Poonch district is 476835, out of which only 176101 were projected as Schedule Tribe (Gujjars-Bakerwals) which constitute 36.9% in Rural and 4.5% in urban. As compare to 2001 census a negative growth of 3 to 4 percent with regard to Tribal population had been registered which is unusual and abnormal as well, he has said.
A growth of 0.2% is also shown in (general) population of Poonch district in 2011 census which come to 3.8% (of Sate population) as compare to 3.6% in 2001 census but the tribal population recorded very low. “We have already written letter to Home Minister of India, Governor of Jammu and Kashmir and Chief Minister J&K. Registrar General of India and Census Commissioner and demanded an impartial inquiry to identify the culprits who are responsible for wrong enumeration of Gujjars-Bakerwals which fall under Schedule Tribe category”, Dr Rahi has said.
The community has also demanded for a fresh census of Poonch district so that the real figures get public.