JK Gujjars demand rights like other tribal communities

The demand was put forth by the community at a meeting organised here by the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation (TRCF) - an organisation founded by noted Gujjar scholar Javaid Rahi.

Press Trust of India
Jammu, Publish Date: Oct 21 2018 11:32PM | Updated Date: Oct 21 2018 11:32PM

Gujjars in Jammu and Kashmir Sunday demanded  equality, justice and pressed for rights that are granted to other  tribal communities in the country.

The demand was put forth by the community at a meeting organised  here by the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation (TRCF) - an organisation  founded by noted Gujjar scholar Javaid Rahi.

The programme was held to discuss identity formation viz-a-viz Gujjars  and Bakerwals. The event also discussed the issues of equality, justice, preservation and documentation of centuries-old socio-cultural, behavioural,  linguistic, ritualistic and primordial traits of J&K tribes, the TRCF said in a release.

Maintaining that the scheduled tribe status granted to Gujjars and  Bakerwals in April 1991 played a key role in their identity formation,  the TRCF said it, however, was not enough to lead the tribal communities on the path of development.

"Though reservation has significantly changed the Gujjars and Bakerwal  society but a large chunk of tribal population is still reeling under  the grip of poverty and backwardness which requires immediate attention,"  it said.

The TRCF said culture was a powerful tool to highlight the vibrant  ethnicity of tribal communities, especially Gujjars and Bakerwals,  and there was a need to document their heritage.

It said Gujjars and Bakerwals were still waiting for the grant of  rights of political reservation to Scheduled Tribes and extension  of Forest Right Act, 2006 and SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to Jammu and Kashmir. 

The TRCF demanded inclusion of Gojri in the The Eighth Schedule  of the Constitution, education for nomadic Gujjar-Bakerwal children, adequate representation in civil administration and police, enhancement  of reservation for Gujjars and Bakerwals in professional colleges.

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