- Recently, a clash took place between Van Gujjars and the Uttarakhand forest officials in the Rajaji National Park.
Back to Basics
About Van Gujjars:
- forest-dwelling nomadic communities in the country.
- migrate to the bugyals (grasslands) located in the upper Himalayas with their buffaloes and return only at the end of monsoons to their makeshift huts, deras, in the foothills.
- Inhabit the foothills of Himalayan states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand.
- traditionally practice buffalo husbandry; a family owns up to 25 heads of buffaloes.
- They rely on buffaloes for milk, which gets them a good price in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh markets.
About the Park
- located at Haridwar (Uttarakhand), along the foothills of the Shivalik range, spans 820 square kilometres.
- Three sanctuaries in the Uttarakhand i.e. Rajaji, Motichur and Chila were amalgamated into a large protected area and named Rajaji National Park in the year 1983 after the famous freedom fighter C. Rajgopalachari; popularly known as “Rajaji”.
- North Western Limit of habitat of Asian elephants.
- Forest types include sal forests, riverine forests, broad–leaved mixed forests, scrubland and grassy.
- It possesses as many as 23 species of mammals and 315 bird species such as elephants, tigers, leopards, deers and ghorals, etc.
- It was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2015.
- It is home to the Van Gujjars in the winters.