Gujjar-Bakerwal demand resignation of J

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Srinagar, Feb 10 (UNI) Demanding the resignation of Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig, the joint forum of Gujjars and Bakerwal said they will oppose any move by the coalition government to grant tribal status to Pahari-speaking people in the state.

Expressing anguish over the recent statement of Mr Baig that the government will recommend that Pahari-speaking people be granted tribal status, Haji Shamsher Ali Boken, presient of the joint forum, said the move was to weaken the tribal character of various communities.

Haji Boken said Mr Baig should resign immediately for dividing the people of the state.

Baig is trying to dilute the tribal characteristics of nomads in order to accommodate his own community (Paharis) in the category, Haji said.

He said Paharis are not backward and the minister wants to grab legitimate rights and constitutional safeguards available to the Gujjars.

It was because this conspiracy Baig played an important role in passing a resolution in the State Assembly asking the central government to grant tribal status to Pahari-speaking people.

Haji Boken said there was no provision to enlist a community as Scheduled Tribe on the basis of its language or location.

He said Gujjars were nomadic so they were given Scheduled Tribe status in 1991 by then Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar.

''The Coalation government has not only ditched us but also broken its promises made to Gujjars, for political reservation,'' said Haji.

He said Paharis were neither defined as a weaker section and nor they approached the Gajendragadkar Commission, the Sikri Commission, the Wazir Commission (1969), the Anand Commission (1976) and the Mandal Commission which covered the entire country.

UNI BAS RL KN1549

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