Gujjars and Bakerwals held a massive protest today in Islamabad town of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) against the Modi-led Indian government’s move to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to Pahari speaking people.
According to Kashmir Media Service, the protest was held under the banner of All Jammu and Kashmir Gujjar Bakerwal Coordination Committee wing Islamabad.
The leaders of the co-ordination committee while addressing the protesters said the Paharis do not constitute a tribe and as such don’t deserve ST status. They said that various commissions and committees appointed by the successive regimes in IIOJK, not even once referred to the Paharis as a tribal group. Further dismissing the Pahari community’s claim to the ST status, the leaders said that the Paharis already enjoyed reservation under various categories under J&K Reservation rules right from 1994 till date.
They pointed out that it is established beyond any shadow of a doubt that the conspirators are all out to jeopardize the legitimate rights and interests of the tribals and render them unreal and ineffective socially, educationally, economically and politically, adding all this is utterly unacceptable to them.
The Gujjar-Bakerwal leaders said that any move on the part of the Indian government or IIOJK administration to grant ST status to the non-existent Paharis would create serious problems in border-belt in Jammu and parts of the Kashmir Valley and if it happened, the consequences would be disastrous for India as well as IIOJK.—KMS