Shah assures ST status, political reservation to Paharis before polls

Pahari leaders from J&K with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on Friday.
Pahari leaders from J&K with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on Friday.

Vibodh, other leaders meet HM, Chug
Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Aug 5: Union Home Minister Amit Shah is reported to have assured the Pahari leaders from Jammu and Kashmir that they will be granted Scheduled Tribe (ST) status and political reservations well before Assembly elections in the Union Territory.
Excelsior was the first to report that the Central Government will grant ST status and political reservations to Paharis and today’s categorical assurance by Shah to Pahari leaders led by Vibodh Gupta indicated that the decision is on the cards.
Some of the leaders who met Shah in New Delhi this afternoon told the Excelsior on telephone that Shah not only assured them the grant of ST status and political reservations but also made it clear that this will be done before the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
STs have been granted 10 percent reservation in Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir for the first time. Nine seats have been reserved for the STs in J&K. Besides, seven seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes.
The Pahari leaders delegation first met Chug and then they proceeded to meet Amit Shah.
Chug later said Paharis were earlier neglected in education, jobs and employment but because of the efforts of Narendra Modi Government they will now get their due.
“We are working in the direction of ‘Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikaas, Sab Ka Vishwaas”, Chug said.
Pahari Tribal leaders who met Shah led by former MLC Vibodh Gupta include former Minister Mushtaq Bukhari, Mohd Iqbal Malik, Mohd Rafiq Chishti, ex MLC Sayeed Rafiq Shah, DDC member Qayoom Mir, DDC member Sohail Malik, Raja Waqar Asif, Khurshid Ahmed Mir, Advocate Ahsan Mirza, Gurdev Thakur, Sayeed Altaf and Ashiq Rafiq Mangral.
In this meeting, a representation related to the various genuine demands of the Pahari tribe was also presented to the Union Home Minister. This representation was made under the guidance of BJP J&K president Ravinder Raina.
During this meeting, Vibodh informed Shah that Pahari Tribe represents a sizeable population of 12 lakh in Jammu & Kashmir. This tribe, he said, is struggling from the past many decades for the grant of ST status at par with ST status granted to Gujjars, Bakerwals and Gaddies residing in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Highlighting the plight of the Pahari Tribe, Pahari leaders said that living close to LoC, this community has been worst hit due to partition, two wars and terrorism in the past. They thanked Shah and Central Government for providing 4% reservation to the Pahari tribe and for recognizing the plight of Paharis.
“Today Pahari Tribe has huge expectations from the Central leadership specially from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah,” they added.
While reacting to the genuine demands of Pahari Tribal leaders and, Shah reportedly assured them that all the genuine demands and concerns will be taken care of
He said the Pahari tribal community living in district Rajouri, Poonch, Uri, Keran, Karnah Pahalgam and Shopian have already suffered in last 70 years and this time Modi Government will do justice with them.
He further said that the Modi Government is fully aware about the genuine issues of the Pahari Tribe and also recognizes the great sacrifices made by this patriotic community for the sake of the country. He also assured the Pahari leaders that “Sab Ka Sath Sab Ka Vikas is the Mission of the Modi Government and “we will follow this in letter and spirit and Pahari Tribal Community will be given justice”.
On this occasion, Shah strongly emphasized that the whole country loves Jammu and Kashmir and called upon the Pahari leaders to work in a mission mode for making a strong and vibrant new Jammu and Kashmir in line with the vision and mission of PM Modi.