Stop anti-Gujjar policies or face consequences, GBST to Congress

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Srinagar, Apr 4 (UNI) Opposing any move to grant Schedule Tribe (ST) status to Pahari speaking people in the state, the Gujjar and Bakerwal Scheduled Tribes (GBST) in Jammu and Kashmir served an ultimatum to the Congress party to stop anti tribal Gujjar policies.

Haji Shamsher Ali Boken, state president of the GBST said the reported announcement made by Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal that the Centre will sympathetically consider the demand for granting ST status to Pahari speaking people in the state came as a shock to entire GBST community.

''Shun the anti-tribal Gujjar policies or face the consequences in the coming Assembly elections,'' Mr Boken said adding the Gujjars hold key in over 13 constituencies.

He also threatened to boycott both the regional parties-- National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-- for their silence on the issue.

Mr Boken gave the ultimatum after it was reported that a group of legislators from the PDP and NC led by Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig had met Mr Jaiswal for granting ST status to Pahari speaking people.

He said the Jammu and Kashmir Gujjar Bakerwal Joint Forum in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has demanded to put a and check on anti-Gujjar activities of the Congress party in the state.

Mr Boken said some people in the government are misleading and deceiving the coalition government on the issue which will result in communal tension and breach of peace in the state especially in border belts.

He said Paharis were neither defined as a weaker section nor they approached any of the commissions set up for the purpose in the country.

Paharis are neither tribal nor nomadic in character and they are not socially, economically and educationally backward, he has said in the letter to Dr Singh, along with the fact that the Paharis are already enjoying reservation under three different categories.

UNI BAS AM DS1230

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