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Gujjar-Bakerwals to hold ‘maha-panchayat’ on 3 December against government’s move to grant ST status to Paharis

 The All J&K Gujjar-Bakerwal Organisation’s Coordination committee will hold a ‘Maha-Panchayat’ in Jammu on 3 December to protest against the move of the government to provide Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to Paharis of Jammu and Kashmir.

The coordination committee today held a press conference here to announce its decision of holding the ‘Maha-Panchayat’ and invite the people of Gujjar Bakerwal Community to participate in the rally.

Representatives of various Social Organisations, Social Activists and various speakers highlighted their demands and problems. They stressed upon the Central Government to allay the apprehensions of granting of ST status to the “Non-Deserving” people of J&K.

Convenor  of the Co-ordination  Committee  Anwar Choudhary said that by creating the issue of grant of ST Status to “So-Called Paharis”, there is disenchantment among the ST people not only in Jammu and Kashmir but in the entire country, particularly among the Gurjar Community from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. He said that move to grant ST Status to Paharis may have some bad consequences  amongst the Gurjar community which can lead to discontent.

The Co-Convenor of Coordination Committee Bashir Ahmed Noon lamented that the Forest Rights Act 2006 for the STs has not been implemented on the ground, and people of the Gurjar Bakerwal community are continuing to be harassed and thrown out of their homes and hearts. The Government of Jammu and Kashmir should make a suitable permanent settlement plan for the nomads of the Gujjar Bakerwal Community.

They alleged that instead of rehabilitating the Gujjar Bakerwals, the authorities like the Forest Department, JDA, and other Agencies of Govt. are demolishing the houses of the ST people and uprooting them from their homes and hearts, leaving them in a lurch. Jameel Choudhary and Sayeed Choudhary, representatives of Dhodi Gujjar Community have expressed their grave concern for not allotting the land that is in their possession and rather are being deprived of their existing shelters. Pertinently, the main thrust in the Press Conference was to “drop the idea of granting  ST status to Paharis”.

 They urged the Central Govt. to reject the report of the Justice GD Sharma Commission and disband the same.

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