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Bring ordinance to protect tribal identity: JK Gujjars urge Governor

Jammu, Jan 27: Urging the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Satyapal Malik to bring an ordinance to protect the socio-economic and ethno-cultural individuality of Scheduled Tribe communities of State- the Gujjars and Bakerwals after conclusion of a programme organised by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation- the speakers pleaded to provide identical rights to them which were granted to other ST communities of India.
Attended by a number of tribal dignitaries the programme was presided over by well known Tribal scholar Dr. Javaid Rahi which was held here on the topic ‘ Tribal Rights in India -an over view of state of J&K State’.
Dr. Javaid Rahi, in his presidential address stated that 12 ST groups of J&K state are struggling hard since many years for a law which can empower the tribes of the state with identical to rights provided in the Constitution of India.
He said the Indian Constitution gives many special rights to Tribal like ‘Political Reservation- under its Article 334, Forest Rights Act -2006, SC/ST prevention of Atrocities Act-1989,Rehabilitation Act -2013 and Conservation Act -1980 but all these Act are not extended to state of Jammu and Kashmir because of its special status.
He said a state Act can enable the tribes to get identical rights enjoyed by the nomadic/tribes of other states of India .
The speakers said that State have no identical Act/ Provisions of its own like other Indian States have, the tribal of J&K are less empowered in country said a speaker 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 other speakers said ” Government should safeguard our unique identity like other state saved their tribes.
They said the whole world treating tribal exclusively and developing nomadic lifestyle to establish their separate identity and providing their share in all type of developments, they said.
They said, the J&K Constitution empowered Scheduled Casts community as 7 MLA seats in J&K Legislative Assembly are Reserved for them but there is no mention of word Tribal in it and the 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.
Those who spoke on the occasion included; Dr Rafeeq Chouhan, Waris Ali Mohammad Din Banya, Shabnum Rafeeq Bajran, Ali Hussain Khatana, Bashir Bajad, Haneef Lodha and others.