Shah may grant area specific ST status to Paharis, Paddar people

Navneet Dubey. Updated: 10/2/2022 12:24:09 PM Front Page

Jammu: In an attempt to bolster its electoral prospects with an eye on upcoming elections in J&K, the union government is likely to grant Scheduled Tribe status to Paharis and Pahari-speaking people in Jammu and Kashmir on geographical criteria by including people of hilly areas also in its ambit.
The people of hilly areas of Paddar in Kishtwar district among others are also likely to get ST status, thereby more people reaping benefit of special status.
The people at the helm were finding it difficult to accord Scheduled Tribe status on linguistic basis as the criterion was crossing the Supreme Court limit of 50% reservation.
As per sources, the announcement of special status will be announced by Amit Shah during his upcoming visit to Jammu and Kashmir.
It may not be a coincidence that senior BJP leader Sunil Sharma met Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi and demanded granting of Schedule Tribe status to the people of Paddar. The people of Paddar have been raising this demand for a very long time on different forums.
As per a political analyst new inclusion from Jammu and Kashmir in the list of Scheduled Tribes may be on the basis of area and may go beyond Rajouri, Poonch and few tehsils of Baramulla and Kupwara to also include few other hilly areas.
"It will be difficult for the Centre to outrightly make Paharis and Pahari-speaking people share-holders in the reservations for which the Supreme Court has fixed the limit of 50%. It can create an unrest among the Gujjars. But Home Minister can grant a package of benefits to Paharis on geographical basis. Rather than being universal, it could be an area specific reservation", he added.
The Union Home Minister may announce reservation in government jobs and some seats in the Legislative Assembly, for the Paharis and the Pahari-speaking people, including the refugees from Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) who could be brought at par with the Gujjar population in enjoying these benefits.
Meanwhile, Javed Rahi a prominent member of Gujjar-Bakerwal community on social media has pointed out that there is no provision in the Constitution of India (like RBA or ALC of JK) to declare an area as 'Tribal area' thereby declaring all residents as STs.
Only those areas are eligible to declared as 'Tribal Scheduled areas' where the tribal population is above 50 percent of total population of an administrative unit such as Block/ Tehsil , District or region. And in these areas only ST communities are tribal or eligible for reservation under ST. In case the PAHARI SPEAKING PEOPLE gets inclusion in ST groups... around one third areas of UT of JK become eligible for inclusion in 5th &6th Scheduled of the Constitution of India. And such declaration can provide an opportunity to people of JK for self governance in Scheduled areas. No one is allowed to purchase land in these areas as per constitutional safeguards.
Updated On 10/2/2022 12:48:57 PM

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