At Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced today that the Pahari community will soon get reservation in education and jobs. Paharis would become the first linguistic group in India to receive ST status.
In order to accomplish this, the central government will have to amend the Reservations Act in Parliament.
According to Mr Shah, the commission (established by the Lieutenant Governor) has sent a report that recommends reservation for Gujjar, Bakarwal and Pahari communities.
It was only after the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 was removed that such reservations became possible. “Minorities, Dalits, tribals, and Paharis here will now be able to exercise their rights.”
“Some people” tried to “instigate” Gujjars and Bakerwals to get ST status, but “the people saw through their designs”.
He urged crowds to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the move on August 5, 2019, when Articles 35A and 370, Constitutional provisions that gave some autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir, were hollowed out.
The state was divided into two UTs — Ladakh was thus separated — of which Jammu and Kashmir can have an elected assembly. Its first elections are likely early next year as the process of demarcating constituencies and finalising voter rolls is almost finished.
Mr Shah said, “I want to appeal to you to free Jammu and Kashmir from the clutches of three families that ruled here.” He did not namethe families, though the PDP of the Muftis and National Conference of the Abdullahs have been his targets, as have been the Gandhis of the Congress.
Jammu and Kashmir, the state that was, last had an elected government in 2018, in which the BJP was a junior partner and Mehbooba Mufti of the PDP was Chief Minister. The NC, too, was once BJP’s partner at the Centre.
Mr Shah said “power is now with 30,000 people who were elected to panchayats and district councils through fair elections” underlining that village-level elections had already been held. “Earlier, all money sent by the Centre for development was usurped by a few, but now everything is spent on welfare.”
He also claimed that the security situation is “far better” now due to the “strong action” taken against terrorists by the Modi government.
Mehbooba Mufti has said the BJP’s claims belie facts on the ground. “It is just dividing communities by using reservation,” she has alleged.
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