INDIA: In light of the escalating hostilities between the Gujjar and Pahari groups in the Pir Panjal region, Indian Union Home Minister Amit Shah is anticipated to formally recognise the Pahari population in Jammu and Kashmir as a Scheduled Tribe (ST).
Shah, in his three-day visit to the Union Territory, will address two rallies—Rajouri followed by Baramulla. This is Shah’s second visit since the abrogation of Article 370.
Amit Shah took to his Twitter account to announce his arrival. He wrote, “Reached Jammu on a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir today. “Eager to interact with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Meanwhile, Kafeel ur Rehman, the senior National Conference leader, and former MLA, urged people to join the Home Ministers’ rally. He said, “Community comes first. Politics later. We all should join the rally and show our collective strength. If we don’t achieve ST status today, we will never get it.”
The political veteran also managed 20 buses for people to travel to Baramulla to take part in the rally.
However, the chief spokesperson of the National Conference, Tanvir Sadiq, denied Rehman’s statement and said, “It’s certainly not the party position. I will check his statement and get back to you.”
The General Secretary of the All J&K Pahari Cultural and Welfare Forum, Mohammad Afzal Khan, said, “Our community members have been deprived of this status for years. The time has come for us to obtain ST status, which is our right.“
In the early context, J&K BJP spokesperson Altaf Thakur gave a hint about Shah’s visit: “Yes, Shah will make an important announcement regarding ST status to the Pahadi community during his visit to the UT,” said Thakur earlier.
Back then in 2002, the BJP-led NDA government, under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had rejected the demand by Paharis for ST status.
But, now under the supervision of the Modi government, it seems that the pending status will be completed.