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Gujjars demand extension of Forest Rights Act to J-K

Members of the nomadic Gujjar and Bakarwal community today held a demonstration here demanding extension of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 to the state so that they too can enjoy rights on forest land as are available to people belonging to Scheduled Tribe communities across the country.

The protesters said that the tribal communities in Jammu and Kashmir have been discriminated against by successive governments and demanded that they should be treated at par with other ST communities of India.

"Tribals in other states of India are entitled for 'title rights' and ownership to land which is being cultivated by them since long but the Government of Jammu and Kashmir is making mockery of our rights as Schedule Tribes," Faiz Bokan, a Gujjar leader said.

He said that every family of tribals and forest dwellers in Jammu and Kashmir as per the Forest Act, should be allotted four hectares of land with "use rights" to grazing areas and pastoralist routes.