SRINAGAR, Oct 4: Scores of people under the banner of the J&K Chopan Welfare Association today staged a protest here, seeking inclusion in the ST category while stating that they have been ignored over the last more than two decades.
“We are here from all the districts of Kashmir. The Govt of India has included the shepherds in the ST category, but we were always excluded for the last more than 25 years,” said Ghulam Mohidin Chopan from Ganderbal.
With a nearly 2 lakh population, the protestors said that their case is lying with the Tribal Affairs Ministry and also come in the De-notified tribe as well as the Mandal Commission.
“We do not have any political representation and that has remained the main cause that we have been ignored over time,” the protestors said.
They said that the Chopan community rears sheep of other communities, and is a downtrodden, backward community.
“The people who belong to this community are landless and the J&K Chopan Welfare Association is struggling for ST status; even got resolution passed by the state legislature in 2000,” they said.
With Home Minister Amit Shah visiting J&K and announcing the reservation to other communities, the protesting Chopans demanded a sympathetic view towards their matter.