IN AN attempt to avoid unnecessary harassment to tribal community in the name of anti-encroachment drives or checking of cattle smuggling, the J&K government has banned eviction of nomads from any place without prior approval of the Tribal Affairs Department, besides asking officers to be careful while dealing with cases involving transportation of bovines.
The orders came from CM Mehbooba Mufti during a meeting held in civil secretariat here on February 14 to review the working of Tribal Affairs Department. The minutes of the meeting, which was attended among others by Tribal Affairs Minister Choudhary Zulfikar Ali and Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Ajay Nanda, Chief Secretary B B Vyas among others, were released by an RTI activist-lawyer Ankur Sharma.
“Hon’ble Chief Minister directed the officers that till a formal Tribal policy is formulated and issued; tribal population shall not be disturbed/dislocated,” read minutes of the meeting signed by Special Secretary Tribal Affairs Department, Mohammad Sharief Choudhary. “In case it becomes absolutely necessary to dislocate any member or family of tribal population, the same shall be done in prior consultation with Tribal Affairs Department,” it read.
To be sure that forest officials do not defy these instructions, the minutes further read: “Hon’ble Chief Minister directed the IGP Jammu, police authorities and all Deputy Commissioners not to provide any police protection for eviction of tribals without the approval obtained from Tribal Affairs Department.” The cm also directed the Deputy Commissioners to conduct socio-economic survey of Scheduled Tribe population residing in their districts within three months.