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ST status to Paharis, reservation to Gujjars

The Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party chief, Prof Bhim Singh Tuesday strongly advocated the Schedule Tribe status to the .....




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11-05-2008
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Arrow ST status to Paharis, reservation to Gujjars


The Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party chief, Prof Bhim Singh Tuesday strongly advocated the Schedule Tribe status to the Pahari people, whom he termed as a distinct ethnic tribe.

After releasing his party’s elections manifesto for Poonch district, which is going to polls in the first phase, Prof Bhim accused the Congress and National Conference of ‘exploiting’ the Paharies for the last sixty years on the name of their upliftment and providing ST status. “These parties ditched them every time,” he said. He said the tribe is stretched between Poonch to Gurez and have distinct ethnic identity thus deserving the status.

He said that if his party came to power, it would give ST status to Pahari people irrespective of ‘religion, caste or class’ and at the same time would ensure political reservation for the Gujjars, Bakerwals and Gaddis.
“At the same time Other Backward Class OBC shall be provided reservations and relief according to their population in recruitment and admission in the professional colleges,” he added.

In the manifesto, Panther’s chief laid stress on the completion of Mughal road without further delay. “This is the only road which would directly connect Kashmir with Poonch and I am of the opinion that the only way to overcome regional differences is to allow the people to come closer, thus in our party manifesto we gave due space to the issue of completing the road at an earliest,” he said.

The other point in the manifesto is rail connection of Poonch with Jammu.
He also stressed for a special package and incentive for the unemployed youth of Poonch and Rajouri districts.

Prof Bhim said the people-to-people contact between the residents of both the sides of Kashmir should be encouraged to generate good-will and strengthen CBM’s between India and Pakistan. “Opening of all the traditional and historic routes between Mirpur-Kotli-Poonch, which existed before 1947 for the residents of both sides with permits and passports will be the priority of Panthers party,” he said.
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