Jammu Tawi, December 20
A delegation of prominent Gujjar leaders of the Jammu and Kashmir State today met Union Tribal Minister Jual Oram at Shastri Bhawan here this afternoon. Led by Gujjar leader Haji Shamsher Ali- President of J&K Gujjars and Bakerwal Joint Forum’ the delegates sharply reacted against a report forwarded by J&K State Cabinet to Tribal Ministry, New Delhi for grant of Schedule Tribe ( ST) to Paharis Speaking people of State. They opposed the move to grant ST status on the bases of Language and termed the report sent by J&K govt as self cooked, politically motivated and based on non-factual rudiments.
The tribal communities leaders informed the Minister that the whole tribal communities of state collectively oppose the inclusion of non tribal ‘Linguistic group’ of ‘Pahari speaking people’ in the ambit of Schedule Tribe which is granted on Tribal- nomadic and ethnic bases. They further informed the Minister that grant of ST status to Pahari speaking People will affect on the development of genuine 12 tribes, particularly the Gujjars ,Bakerwals, Ladakhis of the State as they are well educated and elite class and constitute a majority of ruling class in Jammu and Kashmir
They said the demand of grant of ST status – by Pahari speaking people is based on the sole premises of the linguistic identity the ‘Pahari language’. and they are not identified as a particular tribal identity and mere language does not become any criteria for recognition as a tribe. The delegation said the claim of the backwardness of Pahari speaking people for grant of 5% reservation in State Services rejected by the Governor of J&K owing to their non satisfactory claim, merely on language bases.
The delegation said that Paharis were neither identified or defined as a weaker section and nor they approached before the Anand Commission in 1976, Gajendragadkar Commission, the Sikri Commission, the Wazir Commission (1969), and the Mandal Commission which covered the entire country with regad to backward communities / groups. All these commissions, from time to time, identified the Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Areas and none of them recognized any group as Pahari or Pahari speaking people as weaker section of the Society.