Jammu and Kashmir gujjars demand minority status

15 July 2008
The Hindustan Times
Indo-Asian News Service

Jammu: The Gujjar community of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday demanded they should be categorised as a 'religious minority' in the Jammu region and 'ethno-linguistic minority' in the Kashmir valley as they are facing the 'brunt of hardship and extremism in the both regions of the state'. A delegation of Gujjars of Jammu and Kashmir under the banner of JK Gujjars United Front led by Chowdhary Anwar Hussain called on Governor NN Vohra in Jammu. The delegation told the governor that they were 'a highly neglected community and are facing the problems of insecurity and uncertainty in both the regions of the state'. Gujjars, who form about one fourth of the 11 million population of Jammu and Kashmir, have been at the receiving end during the agitations in the valley and Jammu region over the Amarnath land row. In the Kashmir valley, they were seen siding with the government on the issue and in the Jammu region their community members were targeted for being Muslims. Some of the houses of the community members were set ablaze in parts of the region. 'Being a religious minority our property was damaged during the seven-day shutdown in Jammu region,' the delegation told the governor and demanded adequate security cover for the community residing in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts.