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news details
Gujjar-Bakerwal Organisation addresses press conference
11/28/2023 10:18:34 PM
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Nov 28: The J&K Gujjar-Bakerwal Organisation's Coordination Committee held a press conference at Press Club Jammu on November 28, 2023, to address critical concerns affecting the Gujjar Bakerwal community. The primary purpose of the conference was to inform and invite members of the community to participate in a Maha-Panchayat scheduled for December 3, 2023, at 10:00 A.M. at the JDA ground opposite the Director of Information Office near Railway Masjid Railhead Complex, Jammu. Representatives of various social organizations, social activists, and speakers highlighted pressing demands and issues affecting the Gujjar Bakerwal community during the press conference. The speakers emphasized their concerns regarding the potential grant of Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the so-called Paharis, urging the Central Government to address these apprehensions and ensure fairness in the process. Anwar Choudhary, Advocate and Convenor of the Coordination Committee, expressed that the move to grant ST status to the so-called Paharis has created disenchantment among ST people not only in Jammu and Kashmir but across the entire country, particularly among the Gurjar Community. He warned of potential social disturbances arising from this decision.
Co-Convenor Bashir Ahmed Noon lamented the non-implementation of the Forest Rights Act 2006 in J&K, despite promises, leading to harassment and displacement of the Gujjar Bakerwal community. He urged the government to develop a suitable permanent settlement plan for the nomads of the Gujjar Bakerwal community, considering their unique needs. The speakers also criticized authorities, including the Forest Department, JDA, and other government agencies, for demolishing houses of ST people and uprooting them, leaving them in dire straits. Representatives of the Dhodi Gujjar Community expressed concern over the non-allotment of land in their possession. The press conference strongly advocated for the exclusion of the so-called Paharis from the ST list, asserting that the term lacks a clear definition and is an attempt to dilute the significance of ST status for the Gujjar Bakerwal community in Jammu and Kashmir. The Coordination Committee urged the Central Government to reject the G.D. Sharma Commission's report, which they claimed worked with partiality and bias against the Gujjar Bakerwals. The speakers emphasized potential political, social, and economic consequences if the issue of ST status for so-called Paharis is not addressed.
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