February 2006 News

Gujjar Bakkerwals Wants To Be A Part Of Talks

17 February 2006
The Indian Express

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Gujjar Bakkerwal Conference demanded the that the Gujjar and Bakkerwal community be involved in the dialogue process with New Delhi at every level. Addressing a press conference here today, JKGBC general secretary Haji Yousaf Majnu said that though Gujjar and Bakkerwal community formed a significant portion of the state's population, but still they had been ignored in the ongoing dialogue process. He said that he was surprised that different confusing proposals for the solution of the Kashmir issue were coming from various quarters, directly or indirectly. Yousaf alleged that the Gujjar community had been ignored by the successive governments on one way or the other. He said that under Article 342 of the Indian Constitution, this community has been granted the tribal status and reservations in the Lok Sabha and the state Assembly. He alleged that even the provision of the nomination of Gujjar Bakkerwal candidate to the Upper House of Assembly under Section 50 of the Constitution has not been done. He said that having granted the tribal status to this community, the Central Government ought to have reserved Parliament seat for the Gujjar community in the state as is done in other states. He condemned the designs of those 'vested interests who have been ignoring the tribals but supporting and pleading the cause of Paharis, which is a linguistic group.' State secretary JKGBC Choudhary Bashir Ahmed Kahatana touched upon the issue of the rehabilitation of the nomadic Gujjar and Bakkerwal community whose population is around 5 lakh. He alleged that his community had been deprived of the provision of the five marlas of land under the 20-point programme of the late Indira Gandhi. He also alleged that the Gujjjar community in the quake-hit areas has not been provided adequate relief. Khatana said that there was a dire need for Anaganwari Centres for the community in view of its illiteracy. Others present on the occasion included Qamar Deen and Choudhary Saiffuddin. PoK Shranarthis also want to be part of it Jammu and Kashmir Shranarthi Action Committee has demanded that they be included in the ongoing dialogue process for the resolution of the Kashmir issue. The Committee, which claims to represent the displaced persons from PoK (1947), has submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Home Minister and the Chief Minister of the Jammu and Kashmir. Capt R.K.Raina, president and R.K.Sharma, secretary general of the committee has appealed to the authorities to solve problems of the refugees by accepting their demands. In a statement, the committee has stated that its high level delegation is going to meet the Prime Minister in New Delhi.


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