People have foiled ‘bid to incite Gujjars and Bakerwals’, says Shah | India News

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JAMMU/SRINAGAR: Addressing a rally in Rajouri, Union home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said recommendations of the Justice Sharma Commission had been received and soon after completion of legal procedure, Gujjars, Bakerwals and Paharis will get the reservationbenefits.
The ST quota in J&K carries 7% spots in government jobs and educational institutions. Gujjars and Bakerwals were getting ST ben efits from April 1991. Paharis were given a 4% quota in the OBC category from January 2020 after a delegation met Shah on December 25 the previous year, requesting ST status for the comm unity that has a population of about 12 lakh.
The Centre formed the Justice Sharma Commission in March 2020, but Gujjars and Bakerwals — the third largest ethnic group after Kashmiris and Dogras — were said to be unhappy with the move to grant ST quota to Paharis. Shah said “everyone will get their share”, allaying fears that adding Paharis could upend benefits for those already on the ST list. He said some people tried to instigate Gujjars and Bakerwals, but “people have foiled their design”. There have been reports of protests by Gujjars and Bakerwals in Jammu and Shopian in Kashmir recently. They constitute 40% of the population in the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch. Paharis also live there, but are n umerically small. Taking on the opposition, Shah said J&K was “governed by three families” for 70 years “and democracy was built only within their families”, but now power is with 30,000 p eople who were elected to panchayats and district councils through fair polls. “Now, it’sthe Pahari’s time, poor people’stime. ”
Shah said PM Modi had promised polls after abrogation of A rticle 370. A delimitation exercise was carried out before holding the assembly polls, which “was necessary because the previous one was not as per norms”, he said. Another priority of PM Modi, Shah said, is J&K’s overall development and Rs 56,000 crore investment reached the region since the removal of Article 370, as opposed to Rs 15,000 crore in 70 years prior to2019.
Shah said J&K’s security situation has improved because of the Centre’s “decisive and tough” action against terrorists. He said terrorism-related crimes had dropped from 4,766 in 2006-2013 when Congress was in power to 721 in 2019-22. He said PM Modi “snatched stones from the hands of stone-pelters” in Kashmir and handed them laptops an d jobs. “Today, J&K youths are competing like any other youngster of the country in different fields,” he said.
Security was tight in J&K for Shah’s visit. Internet services were suspended temporar ily in Jammu and in specific areas of Rajouri till 7pm Tuesday. Shah will address a rally in Baramulla in Kashmir Wednesday and attend a high-level meeting in Srinagar to review security situation.



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