News Kashmir Analysis
Reservation has been a serious and sensitive issue in the Independent India, meant for upliftment of backward and marginalized communities.
During the recent historic visit to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, by Home Minister Amit Shah he historically announced Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for the Pahari community on Tuesday (4 October).
The announcement was made in his address at a public rally in Rajouri. He said that Justice GD Sharma Commission has recommended reservation for Paharis, Gujjars and Bakerwals and after completion of the administrative process, these communities will get reservation benefits.
However, scores of students belonging to the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities protested when the move to grant ST status to Paharis in Jammu was being speculated.
March 2020, the Jammu and Kashmir government had constituted a three-member commission headed by Justice Sharma to look at the issues relating to socially and educationally backward classes, scheduled tribes and scheduled castes.
The other two members of the Commission were Indian Police Service officer Muneer Khan and retired Indian Foreign Service officer Rupa Lal.
However Gujjar Bakerwals community was not happy.
The community has been protesting against the move for the last several months. It fears that the sizeable Pahari-speaking population, if granted the ST status, will eat up their share in government employment and higher education.
As a matter of fact,
The two communities were already benefitting from 10 per cent reservation in jobs for STs in J&K. They feared dilution of their quota on inclusion of Paharis and said ST status should not be granted on the basis of linguistics.
It is worth mentioning here that The plan was unveiled by Home Minister Amit Shah, who said in Jammu in 2021: “Elected members of the Pahari community can now become a minister and Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, which was impossible earlier because of dynastic politics.”
“Prime Minister Modi is now going to solve the issues of the Pahari community. Soon BJP will grant ST status to Paharis which is their genuine demand,” BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir Chief, Ravinder Raina said in a meeting with Paharis, later. “The Gujjars, Bakerwals and Paharis are three sons of the same mother.”
Paharis constitute nearly 10 percent of population of Jammu and Kashmir.
The hope is that Gujjar and Bakerwal,Paharis and all the marginalized communities would get a due share and be part of peaceful and prosperity of Jammu and Kashmir. The reservation status should mean empowerment of all these communities.