Gujjars demand Minority status, seats in both the Houses in J

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Srinagar, Jul 18 (UNI) Demanding minority status for the Gujjars in Jammu and Kashmir, the Akhil Bhartiya Gujjar Mahasabha (ABGM) urged Governor N N Vohra to reserve seats for the Schedule Tribe (ST) community in both the houses.

A delegation of ABGM led by the state president Ashfaq-ur-Rehman Poswal, during a meeting with Mr Vohra today demanded that in order to protect their properties, and identity the Gujjars in the state should be categorised as ''Religious Minority'' in the Jammu region and ''Ethno-Linguistic Minority'' in Kashmir valley.

They also demanded that before assembly elections the government should issue an SRO to reserve at least 21 constituencies of State Assembly and 10 seats in Upper House for Scheduled Tribe communities as has already been done in case of ''Scheduled Castes.'' The delegation said the Gujjars will launch a statewide agitation in case any proposal to grant ST status to Pahari speaking people is considered by the government.

The ST status cannot be considered on A ''language'' basis, the delegation told the Governor.

The delegation urged the governor to immediately dissolve and re-organise the State board for the development of Gujjars.

They alleged that previous government has recently appointed a non-Gujjar Secretary in the Gujjar board.

The other demands put before the governor included raising of Gujjar regiment in Indian Army, allotment of land to rehabilitate the Nomadic Gujjars , inclusion of Gojri in The 8th Schedule of Indian constitution , speedy implementation of Developmental Sachems for Gujjars, the order regarding closing forests to Nomadic Movement of Gujjars be withdrawn forthwith.

Introduction of Cattle insurance Sachems for Banharas and Bakerwals, enhancement of seats for Gujjars in Professional Colleges, relaxation of age bar in favour of Gujjar candidates in Police and other recruitments, providing employment to Trained Professional graduates. suitable market facilities for livestock and milk products were the other demands.

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