JKNPP holds protest, seeks ST status for ‘Kolis’

Enraged over the state government neglecting the recommendation of according ST status to ‘Kolis’ along with the Pahari speaking people, scores of Panther Party workers including the members of Koli community held a massive demonstration at Exhibition Ground Jammu today.
The Panthers activists led by Harsh Dev Singh chairman JKNPP and former Minister raised slogans against the BJP and the state government for ignoring the said community despite their legitimate claims for inclusion in the said category.
Flaying the state government and BJP in particular for depriving the Kolis of their genuine rights, Harsh Dev Singh described it as yet another venomous doze of discrimination administered to the divested Jammu region. He divulged that while the state cabinet in its meeting recommended the grant of ST status to Pahari speaking people, it blatantly ignored the Kolis despite incorporated commitment of State government in the ‘Agenda of Alliance” on page no 10 besides BJP’s tall election promises. He regretted that even the communiqués of the Union Govt and PMO Office on the subject were ignored by the state govt for unknown reasons. He deplored that koli community which inhabited the far flung areas of District Kathua, District Udhampur, District Doda and District Ramban qualified for ST status in view of their cultural distinctiveness and vulnerable socio-economic conditions but was made to suffer. He however regretted that not a single BJP MLA of the said area promoted their cause in the Assembly or outside and the Ministers from Jammu region were mute spectators when the State cabinet excluded the Koli community from ST status in its deliberations.
Reiterating the demand of Koli’s for inclusion in ST
category, Harsh Dev Singh stated that Koli and Sippis belong to the same family having same culture, occupation, language, economic and social status and residing in hilly area having negligible land owner ship and are dependent upon rearing of animals.
Singh vowed that JKNPP shall not relent until the poor, downtrodden and deprived sections of society were bestowed with their rights. He sought immediate settlement of the issue of Koli community failing which Panthers Party would intensify its stir for their legitimate rights.

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