Paharis organize seminar at JU, demand ST status

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Nov 20: Paharis of J&K organized a one- day seminar on the theme, `Justice and Equality with the marginalized Ethnicity of J&K’ here today at Jammu University.
Several noted Pahari intellectuals and prominent personalities of Pahari tribe took part in this seminar.
Speakers on this occasion deliberated upon their demand for Scheduled Tribe status and said that their genuine demand has unfortunately been ignored since decades and Pahari tribe is still waiting to get its genuine right of ST status.
They said that Pahari ethnicity constitutes a tribe that lives in hilly, tough terrain of border area and also are part of seasonal migration every year thus fulfilling all prerequisites to be given Schedule Tribe status.
The speakers, in one voice, raised concerns of their down trodden condition and appealed Government of India to furnish their due long pending demand of ST status. They stressed that justice and equality with the top most marginalized Pahari tribe of J&K is the need of hour.
Hoping that the present Central Government having complete majority and a PM with firm conviction will address this genuine demand of much deprived tribe, the speakers appealed GoI to accord due ST status to the tribe before holding Assembly elections in J&K.
They also reminded that different committees and expert panels, from time to time, declared Pahari tribe as the downtrodden ethnicity. Since 1993, every Governor and Chief Minister of J&K has recommended due ST status to Pahari tribe and even each PM also assured justice with the Pahari ethnicity, they said and added that Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during a recent rally at Jammu, had also assured to deliver justice with the Pahari tribe.
The speakers included Gulzar Qureshi (Retd Deputy Commissioner), Iqbal Malik (DDC Darhal), Ashan Mirza (former AAG), Dr Pawan Sharma, Bharat Vaid, Adv Gurdev Thakur, Rajesh Dutta, Adv Rahul Sharma, Sajjad Mirza, Adv Yasser Khan, Adv Ashfaq Khan, Adv Zameen Qureshi, Altaf Janjua, Dr Ashan Malik, Adv Zahid Malik, Nikhil Gupta, Ajeet Verma, Ashutosh Khanna, Adv Priya Sharma and others.
The programme was conducted by former Secretary, Students Cultural Council, Jammu University, Vikrant Sharma while Dr Rashid Manhas from the Department of Urdu, JU, presented vote of thanks.