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Gujjars demand protection of tribal rights , identity

Jammu, December 20 (Scoop News)-Urging the Union and State government to protect the socio-political and ethno-cultural individuality of Scheduled Tribe communities of State- the Gujjars and Bakerwals leaders today pleaded to provide identical rights to them which were granted to other ST communities of India.

They said " Government should safeguard our unique identity like other state saved their tribes" while participating in a function organised by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation-a frontal organisation of marginalised groups, held here on the topic ' Tribal Rights in India -an over view of state of J&K State 'attended by tribal dignitaries.

In his presidential address Dr. Javaid Rahi, Secretary ,Tribal Foundation stated that the Tribes of J&K state are very less empowered as compare to ST communities of other states in India. He said that there is no special Article / rights/ provisions, mention of tribal groups in our State Constitution. The other states of India gives special rights to nomadic/tribes to protect the distinctiveness, he said .

He said the Indian Constitution gives special rights to Tribal like 'Political Reservation- under its Article 334, Forest Rights Act -2006, The SC/ST prevention of Atrocities Act -1989, Rehabilitation Act -2013 and Conservation Act -1980 to empower tribal communities .But all these Act are not extended to state of Jammu and Kashmir because of its special status in Indian Constitution under Article 370.

Since State have no identical Act/ Provisions of its own like other Indian States have , the tribal status granted to 12 J&K ST communities is weakest in India ,said Rahi and added ST status in J&K is like ALC/RBA category and no special provisions were made to strengthen it like it exists in other states.

The tribal are not treated separately in J&K as whole world treating them exclusively to them in their own nomadic lifestyle to establish their separate identity, and provides share in all type of developments, he said.

He hoped that new government which created a Tribal Ministry in the State a year ago will initiate steps to strengthen the marginalised tribes by introducing identical Act/provisions in the J&K state. They can implement all these important central Act by extending them to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, through issuance of SROs, he said .

He said the ST communities of State deserves same rights as already available to tribes residing in rest of India.
He said, the J&K Constitution empowered Scheduled Casts community as 8 MLA seats in J&K Legislative Assembly are Reserved for them but there is no mention of word Tribal in it and Indian Constitution treats SC and ST as equal.

In J&K -the Reservation Act provides only 10 percent reservation to STs in jobs and promotions since 1991 but no other rights were provided to them.
The Gujjars - Bakerwals constitute 20% of State population and constitutes and comprising of 85 of total population of Tribes in Jammu and Kashmir.


Those who spoke on the occasion included; Dr S S Chouhan, Wariz Mohammad Banya, Shabnum Rafeeq Bajran, Ali Hussain Khatana, Bashir Bajad, Haneef Lodha and others.

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