Gujjar delegation meets Tribal Affairs Minister Munda

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Jammu: A delegation of Gujjars on Tuesday met Union Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda here and apprised him of the issues and problems being faced by the Scheduled Tribe communities in Jammu and Kashmir with a request for immediate redressal of the grievances.

Munda was on a two-day visit of the Jammu region as part of the week-long public outreach programme of the Central government and addressed a series of meetings in Reasi district.

Noted tribal researcher Javaid Rahi and president Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation (TRCF) Choudhary Ghulam Sarwar Chouhan held an hour-long meeting with the Union minister at the Jammu Airport and discussed socio-cultural, economic, educational issues besides rehabilitation of tribes of Jammu and Kashmir, a spokesman of the Gujjar organisation said.

He said the minister was informed that Gujjars and Bakerwals together constitute more than 80 percent proportion of tribal population of Jammu and Kashmir and face a gross discrimination since the last 72 years in education, recruitment and promotions in government jobs, postings of officers, socio-economic development and political representation.

“The Gujjars deserves a fair deal from government of India in new J and K,” the spokesman said.

The demands projected before the minister through a memorandum include immediate implementation of the Conservation Act-1980 and the Forest Rights Act-2006 to rehabilitate nomads, forest dwellers and recognise habitation of  ‘Forest Villages’ of J and K on the prototype of other states and UTs, he said.

The spokesman said the demand for the implementation of reservation or roster in recruitment and grant of  reservation in promotions’ to Scheduled Tribes employees was also projected. Other demands highlighted by the Gujjar leaders include establishment of Eklavya  Model school for tribes in each tehsil or district of the UT, inclusion of Gojri in 8th Schedule, funds for tribal villages in 100 percent ST population, political reservation in Assembly constituencies where STs (Gujjars) constitute 25 to 80 percent of franchise, special recruitment for tribal youth, strengthening of tribal department with funding in each sector, he said.