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LG’s initiatives for STs: Helpless Koli community ignored, ill treated
11/25/2021 10:43:16 PM

Early Times Report

Jammu, Nov 25: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Thursday announced the historic initiative of his government to transform 200 schools into Smart Schools for Tribal communities.
Furthermore, the J&K Govt has taken another major decision to provide scholarships to 21000 children of the Gaddi, Sippy, Dard, Sheena communities who were deprived of the same for the last three decades.
It is a historic initiative on the part of the J&K government to provide scholarships and other initiatives to the Giddi, Sippy, Dard, and Sheena communities but the biggest question is about the helpless Koli community.
Socially, the educationally and economically backward Koli community of J&K, is being deprived of constitutional rights for the last over three decades due to the apathetic approach being adopted by the successive state governments. Koli community appears as Scheduled Tribe (ST) in the central list. And most important of all the other sub-castes of this community namely Gaddi and Sappi are already included in the ST list of J&K.
In the year 1991 when some communities of J&K were granted ST status, this deserving- Koli caste, was left out due to some trivial clerical mistakes but till date no serious attempt has been made to rectify the mistake to give justice to his poorest community.
Comprising over 10,000 souls, the Koli community is inhabited in the far-flung area of Kathua, Udhampur, Ramban, and Doda districts of Jammu province but successive regimes in J&K have never give ear to the genuine grievances of this most backward community. As members of this community are educational backward so they could not effectively raise their voice. The majority of the members of this community are involved in rearing sheep and goats in the higher reaches.
Members of the Koli community have reasons to allege that denying ST status to the Koli caste was yet another obnoxious doze of discriminatory treatment administered to the hitherto deprived Jammu region because the incumbent coalition government has promised to include Koli in ST status.
They deplored that the Koli community qualified for ST status because of their cultural distinctiveness and vulnerable socio-economic conditions but were made to suffer due to the callous approach of authorities.
Deputy Commissioner Kathua vide letter no. DCK/LHS/2014-15/1271-75 dated 11.12.2014; Deputy Commissioner Udhampur vide office no. DDCU/CM-Sectt./ 2014-15/1062 dated 30.05.2014; Deputy Commissioner Doda vide office no. 1106/SQ dated 22.10.2014 and Deputy Commissioner Ramban vide office no. DCR/SQ/346-48 dated 29.06.2015. had all recommended the grant of ST status to Koli’s and appealed for early action in respect of the same but no action has been taken so far.
And more important to all, Working Group headed Justice (Retd.) Sagheer had also recommended both New Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir government to consider granting ST status to the Pahari, Argon, and Koli communities of Jammu and Kashmir.
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