Dispossessed Rautes to go back where they belong

JOGBUDA: Rautes of Jogbuda and Shirsha areas of Dadelhura are all set to retreat to their natural habitat, jungles, owing to dire financial crisis and lack of sufficient space.

They had been living in these areas for the past two decades.

Chandra Bahadur, Mukhiya of the Raute community, said, "As the locals have been constantly encroaching our habitat, we have no way left except to move back to the jungles." He said,"Since we are the kings of the forest, we can not tolerate any sort of trouble."

"Sixty per cent of the Rautes have already returned to the jungle," said Man Singh Mal, a local leader.

One and a half bigha of land in Ampani and Shirsha of Jogbuda was distributed to each Raute family 26 years ago but most of which now has been occupied by the people of other communities. Only a handful of Rautes own land, over 20 families have already been back to jungles.

Dan Bahadur, among those rare Rautes who have passed SLC, is concerned about the education of their children. "It has been stated that lakhs of rupees have been spent on the Rautes' education, almost no Raute child is educated," he said. Most of the Raute children lack even fundamental level of education, but, their education is also uncertain along with their decision to retreat.

The Rautes have to buy everything when they stay in the villages which is beyond their financial capabilities. " We opted to pull back to the forests where sustenance is free," Dan Bahadur said.

The government and the NGOs working for the Raute community had done nothing, he alleged.