REASI, Jan 22: Taking strong note of the opposition of Gujjars to Schedule Tribe (ST) status for Paharies, Jammu and Kashmir Pahari People Movement (JKPPM) today said that ST status is the basic right of Paharies and they will continue their struggle till they get the same.
“We are demanding the ST status from Government not from Gujjars and they should not react in this way”, Shahbaz Khan, chief executive of JKPPM said, adding that the case of Paharies is strong and the State assembly has already passed a resolution for granting ST status to Paharis.
He said that the State Cabinet in 1989, vide Cabinet decision no 159, had recommended the Centre Government for granting ST status to 7 tribes including Paharies. “Though other 6 tribes have been given the ST status, Paharies are struggling for the same for last 20 years”, he added.
Khan was addressing the Pahari community during a convention held today. The convention was organized by Satpal Singh and presided over by RS Mala, spokesman of JKPPM.
Shahbaz Khan hailed the statement of veteran Gujjar leader who favored ST status to Paharis but at the same time he criticized those Gujjar leaders who are unnecessarily opposing their demand. “These nefarious designs people are bent to exploit this genuine cause and create negative and bitter feelings between the two communities”, he added.
“If the opposition from Gujjars will continue they will launch a movement for scraping this status from Gujjars too, who even before the dawn of independence were hailing from elite background. They were Zialdars, Numberdars, Venders and Jagirdaars and were owning thousands of kanal of land and immovable property”, the JKPPM leader said.