Jashn-e-Tosamaidan is celebrated every year for the last 08 years in the meadows of TosaMaidan to mark victory by the local communities (including pastoralists, chopans, tribals, nomads and other indigenous groups) and environmental conservationists over closing down a 50-year-old firing range.
The movement led against the firing range was peaceful and democratic and led to success everyway possible.
Jashn-2022 is prioritizing that TosaMaidan community gets benefited from the wide-range of activities held during a three-day festival between 26-28 August 2022.
The event was inaugurated by vice chairperson DDC Budgam, Chaudhary Nazir Ahmed Jahara along with other DDC members – Molvi Nisar Ahmed DDC Khag, Rozia Jan – DDC Sukhnag, Afroza Jan, Saima Jan.
TBF welcomed the guests and participants and the event started with bringing forth the memory on which the massive TosaMaidan campaign was built, the challenges faced and the critical and dire circumstance in which it was led and carried forward. It was also highlighted the concerned political leaders had failed time and again to address the issue of firing range which caused 65 reported deaths and over 270 impaired and caused massive loss to property and livestock. Political parties would come to ask for vote and then nullify the promises. TBF didn’t stop there, it went on to come up the community driven adventure and rural tourism for the community and is ensuring its implementation on each step. To carry out the sustainable tourism practices now, it has helped set up wide range of community groups and is providing the handholding required to blend with process.
On behalf of DDC Budgam, Molvi Nisar (DDC Khag) verified that the approved Community driven Adventure and Rural tourism initiative which was framed and brought in place by TBF is a priority for them – they will continue to support the initiative and will apply same plan for Doodhpathri and Yousmarg. They will ensure special protection to land, pastures, ecology, and local livelihoods.
He ensured, DDC Budgam will call for a special council to ban corporate tourism interference within Budgam. He also said the road from Sitaharan to Tosamaidan will be macadamized this year, and Aripanthan to Khag road will be widened and completed as well. He summarized, all the development plans will be pro-environment and pro-people.
Dr Shaikh Ghulam Rasool Founder and Chief Patron TBF said TBF wouldn’t have formed had the political set up in the area delivered their promises. Therefore, wherever political setups or bureaucratic set-ups fail movements and campaigns like TBF will be born and will come to people’s rescue in rest of the valley.
He emphasized, TosaMaidan is a glaring and loud example of community forests rights. He appealed people to give top priority to the community forest rights to safeguard mountains and rights of mountain communities and community-based conservation efforts. He urged all to unite as mountain communities and carry forward legacy of TosaMaidan as TBF was formed on the core value of unity amongst the people, having that said the political leaders will try to divide you for their vote bank, don’t fall into the trap, stay united to curb the individual and community issues and to achieve the larger goals.
He said, orphan, widows and impaired by firing practices are yet to be compensated even when the FIRs stand registered on some of TBF members and when we are practically implementing and walking tourism in the area. Therefore, they need to be compensated now as a priority.
Other TBF members who spoke on the occasion include Chairperson – Master Maqbool, Vice-Chairperson- Mohd Akram, General Secretary – Molvi Maqbool, Co-founder and chief organizer – Sheikh Ghulam Mohiuddin, Organiser – Manzoor Ahmed Rather and Abdul Razaq.
During the Jashn, Tourism department officials met community wherein community demanded to improve the communication lines, who raised a) a proper road to be established to TosaMaidan b) Kadlabal to be connected to the main road of TosaMaidan.
Other Civil society groups including TosaMaidan Global Trust, TosaMaidan Development Movement, Coordination committee met TosaMaidan Bachav front and promised to work alongside TBF in addressing the development and conservations challenges in the area.
In the joint interactive session, it was decided to clean Tosamiadan, ecological concerns were taken a note of, and considering that conservation and livelihood generation were keenly focused and prioritized.
It was decided to ban plastics and polythene in the area. Packed food to be replaced with local cuisines to promote the locally made food, curb the plastic use, and generate livelihoods.
It was also agreed that guides and ponywallas operating in TosaMaidan should be from the locality and avenues of employment and livelihoods should be given to the locales as a priority area.
Youth groups should be financed and avenues of loan to be provided to locales to renovate dhoks in Kadlabal and TosaMaidan.
Healthcare for people should be ensured. A doctor should be stationed in TosaMaidan. TBF extends thankfulness for a mobile van provided this time for Tosamaidan and first aid services.
Veterinary doctors and services should also be provided for the livestock. TBF appealed government to settle forest rights in the area.
Despite incessant rains DDC Budgam members effectively participated, interacted with public, tourism department officials meeting locales and communities and the people in the area participated in large numbers for all three days, TBF extends gratitude to all of them to make the event success.