Various Gujjar-Bakerwal organisations have opposed grant of ST status to Paharis alleging that their rights were being diluted with such a move.
A conglomeration of at least ten Gujjar and Bakerwal organisations in a Press Conference at Jammu under the banner of the Jammu and Kashmir Gujjars and Bakerwals Organisations Co-ordination Committee, expressed their apprehensions about dilution of their rights.
The heads of different organisations expressed their anguish over the report of Sharma Commission and termed it as biased and against the interest of Scheduled Tribes, OBCs and deprived sections of the people. The Gujjar leaders tying black badges on their arms as a sign of protest also expressed their complete dissatisfaction over the conduct of Registrar General of India and Tribal Ministry and appealed to both the forums to recall their approval if any for providing Scheduled Tribe status to “Paharis” and ethnical group of people.
The Gujjar leaders also questioned the Sharma Commission, RGI and Tribal Ministry as how the so-called “Paharis” can be termed as an ethnical group and what is their ethnicity and how this term has been carved out & used by the Commission.
The convener of the Co-ordination Committee Anwar Chowdhary lashed out at the members of Sharma Commission by saying that Commission was constituted of biased people, who always remained against the deprived sections of people. None of the members of commission has visited any area or people intended to be included or excluded for reservation.
The speakers alleged that the members have given vague report about the so-called “Paharis” and termed the whole population of Jammu and Kashmir as “Paharis”, as there is no criteria and identification specified in the report to identify Paharis. They appealed to the Gujjars- Bakerwals, Gaddis, Sippis to unite against the nefarious designs of the anti-reservation and anti-tribal lobby. They also appealed to all the Tribal people to boycott the ensuing visit of Tribal Minister Arjun Munda who is on two-day visit of Rajouri & Poonch on Nov 10 and 11.
Bashir Ahmed Noon, Mushtaq Choudhary, Ch Aslam Khan, Sardar Khan, Ch Mohd Shafi Bajad, Haji Abdul Hussain and Ch Gulzar Khatana also spoke on the occasion.