Stressing upon the state government to settle the issues facing the nomadic communities to enable them to get education, health and other facilities, The Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation (TRCF) said the tribal population in the state are facing a number of hardships and issues like dispossession of land, violence, poverty and loss of identity.
"Only a well-defined tribal policy can help in eradicating illiteracy, economic instability and cultural shyness in nomads," it said in a statement.
Asserting that the tribal communities must be developed without disturbing their own way of life, the TRCF said such policy, if formulated, can pave the way for grant of rights on forest and other ancestral lands on prototype of other tribes residing in different states of the country.
Due to non-existence of a tribal policy for protection and development of Scheduled Tribes in a holistic manner, the tribes, especially Gujjars and Bakerwals which constitute more then 80 per cent of tribal population of the state, are lagging in every field of life, it said, adding, "A comprehensive and visionary policy for tribal can restore the confidence of the two communities."
"The present government is pro-tribe as they were the first to establish the first ever Tribal Ministry in the state. Our expectation from her (Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti) is very high as she is capable enough to give a new vision to the state in term of tribal development," the TRCF said.
It said a majority of scheduled tribes are vulnerable to displacement, continues to live below the poverty line, have poor literacy rates, suffer from malnutrition and disease, and require special attention of the state government.
"The Scheduled Tribes, in general, are repositories of indigenous knowledge and wisdom in certain aspects which must be preserved immediately and a tribal policy must be formulated with the aim to address each of these problems in a concrete way," the organisation said and also called for measures to preserve and promote tribal cultural heritage and languages.
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