RAJOURI, Feb 26: Maintaining that only grant of Scheduled Tribe status in 1991 can’t solely end the discrimination meted out with Gujjars and Bakerwals since 1947 – the tribal community members stressed for concrete efforts to change the social status of the tribes and upgrade their life equal to other citizens of State and Country.
Presided over by noted tribal researcher Dr Javaid Rahi the programme held at Kalakote was attended by a number of tribal dignitaries, scholars and students. In his presidential address, Dr Rahi stated that though ‘Reservation’ has significantly changed the living standard of Gujjar and Bakerwals since 1991 yet a large chunk of tribal population is still reeling under the grip poverty and backwardness.
He said it is only due to tribal status that the community has recorded considerable progress in all the field of life but concrete efforts are required so that the community may not feel discriminated at any level. He added that during last 25 years of reservation the J&K Gujjars produced 10 IAS/IPS, around 100 KAS/KPS officers but a lot of efforts are required to boost the community educationally, socially, economically and culturally.
Though two Cabinet Ministers and 9 MLAs/ MLCs are representing the community yet it requires grass root level socio political empowerment in the system, the speakers of the programme observed.
The other speakers stated that as against 20 percent ST population in J&K, the Gujjars and Bakerwals and other tribes were getting only 10 percent quota which speaks about the discrimination the community was faced with.
Those who spoke on the occasion, included Khadam Bajran, Dil Mohammad, Mohammad Shreif Khaki, Wariz, Mohammad Banya, Shabnum Rafeeq Bajran, Ali Hussain Khatana, Bashir Bajad, Haneef Lodha and others.