Gujjars and Bakkarwals of Jammu & Kashmir in the shadows of conflict
The Gujjars and Bakkarwals of Jammu and Kashmir are an inseparable part of the multicultural identity of the state.A violent, brave and hardy group, their nomadic lifestyle is unmatched and unique. When militancy engulfed Jammu and Kashmir, it was the local population that suffered
the most, but perhaps none more than these two tribes. Facing extreme hardships, these people continued their generational practices, but at a great cost. Clashes between the militants and security forces placed the Gujjar and Bakkarwals in the middle of a conflict that would have
implications resonating with the tribes for generations.
It was also this group that actively resisted militancy and paid a terrible human price. It hence remains important to explore the tribes’ contribution in taking the lead and restoring normalcy and peace in the region. The saga of peace in the Poonch-Rajouri region comprises stories of the Hill Kaka battle, resistance of Salwa villagers and individuals like Tahir Fazal Choudhary who mobilised the locals to fight the militants. It was also this population where women stood shoulder to shoulder with the men, guns in hand. Today there is a sense of frustration among these tribes. They feel that the government has not done enough to alleviate their problems. This book is an attempt
to chronicle their narrative, highlight their unheralded efforts and understand why they feel neglected.