Bad weather leaves nomadic Gujjars stranded in Kashmir

Jammu:¬†Owing to unseasonal snowfall and heavy rains, thousands of nomadic Gujjar graziers and their livestock have been left stranded in higher reaches of Kashmir’s north-western Himalayas, an official said today.

“Thousands of Gujjars are stranded at various points in the Pir Panjal, Shivalik, Trikuta and Zojila mountain ranges of the Himalayas due to bad weather,” Javed Rahi, secretary of tribal research and cultural foundation – a frontal organisation of Gujjars, told reporters here.

He urged the authorities to help the traditional grazier community with food, medicines, blankets, and with fodder for their livestock.

“Our organisation has received reports that the members of Gujjar tribe are stranded near Pir Panjal range, Doda, Anantnag and Kulgam towns, Zojila pass, Jamia Gali, Pir Ki Marg, Chhapran, upper Banihal, Wadwan, Trichhal, Mughal road and Gurez Macheil sector,” Rahi said.

“They are facing lots of hardships due to heavy snowfall and continuous rains for the past few days,” he added.

Gujjars started their annual migration from the plains, where they stay during winters, to mountainous pastures in April.

According to Rahi, there were also reports of “loss of livestock due to hostile weather conditions prevailing in Kashmir”.

He said the defence ministry has also been approached to provide relief material to the stranded community members.

Thousands of Gujjars move up to mountainous pastures along with their livestock in summers and back to plains in winters before the snowfall.

According to official statistics, there are about 25 lakh Gujjars living in Jammu and Kashmir, of whom about five lakh are nomads. For tehir living, they rear buffaloes, sheep and goats.

-IANS

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