Van Gujjars Nomadic Tribe

Recently, Uttarakhand high court has criticized state government for neglecting and forcing families of Van Gujjars nomadic tribe to survive in conditions below animal’s existence.

HC’s Order

Court has ordered Uttarakhand government to provide them accommodation, food, water and medicines. It also ordered to get their Covid-19 testing done before they enter Govind Pashu Vihar National Park in Uttarkashi.

State’s View

State government were of the view that; if tribes will enter national park, they will endanger the wildlife because, coronavirus may spread from humans to animals.

Background

HC was responding on a PIL filed by Delhi based NGO called Think Act Rise Foundation in 2019 to highlight situation of Van Gujjars, who continue to occupy certain areas of forests in Uttarakhand. PIL has asked the count to make community a beneficiary under Forest Right Act, to give land rights and to cases against them.

About Van Gujjars nomadic tribes

Van Gujjars are nomadic tribes inhabiting in foothills of Himalayas and in states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. They are buffalo-herders. They are among the tribes who are living or have lived in deep dependence on wild habitats.

Origin of Van Gujjars

It is believed, Gujjars belonged to Gurjara kingdom and they migrated tostates of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in Indian Subcontinent. On the other hand, Muslim Gujjars including Van Gujjars migrated to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Indian Himalayan states of Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. It is also believed that, ancestors of van Gujjars migrated from Kashmir to Uttarakhand some 1500 years ago.

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