NC Asks Govt To Recognize Symbiotic Relation Between Forests And Tribals

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Friday condemned the use of brutal force by the administration against Gujjar-Bakarwal community during an eviction drive in the Zampahri-Shopian inflicting severe injuries to many and said the measure is a continuing case of oppressing tribals across J&K.

Denouncing the use of brute force against the tribal community during an eviction drive by the forest department at upper reaches of Shopian district, Party’s Senior leader and state secretary Sakina Itoo, District President Kulgam Abdul Majeed Bhat Larmi, and Spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar in a joint statement  have termed the act brutal and incongruous with constitutional  norms.

The mammoth of intimidation, and violence, which was let loose in Jammu previously, the leaders said, has reached Kashmir now to haunt the indomitable and peace loving tribals. Voicing against the cruelty meted out to the poor tribal families, the leaders stated that it is under a well hatched plan that these peace loving people are subjected to violence and intimidation and the recurrence of such acts explains it all.

“The gruesome images of tribal men drenched in blood have troubled every person having even a modicum of humanity in his heart. JK tribals have been feeling under siege ever since the ruling dispensation has had its hands on power in Jammu and Kashmir. These tribals who live in and around forests have managed and conserved the biodiversity of their niches since long. The unwise decision of dislodging them from their niches will affect their lives in numerous ways besides that the dimwitted measure will impact the scientific conservation of forest resources as well. We in our party value conservation but not at the cost of marginalized tribal or forest dwelling communities. There ought to be a balanced approach to protect the people and the forests,” they said.

The functionaries said that the incumbent government cannot act blind to the human miseries and go on with its reckless programme of eviction. “This has to stop.  Such measures in the first place should have mandatory sanction of the tribal affairs department and local community leaders. The need of the hour calls for recognizing the symbiotic relationship of tribals with the forests. The incidents of tribal bashing have become a norm now; not even a day passes without any tribal hutments being forcefully attacked upon by the administration. Why is it that tribals of J&K are receiving a raw deal while as their counter parts in the rest of the country are enjoying cultural, land and property rights under various favorable constitutional provisions. The discrimination speaks volumes particularly at a time when there are restrictions on residential evictions in view of the current global pandemic. It is expected that the incumbent administration will act sensibly to ensure that the poor tribals aren’t subjected to injustice,” they said.

They also demanded compensation to the injured and strict punishment against the erring officers behind the violence.

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