A Gujjar organisation from Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday asked the Centre’s interlocutors to take into account problems and demands of the community while preparing their final report.
“The panel of interlocutors should make strong recommendations on the issues related to Gujjars and Bakerwals in its final report on Jammu and Kashmir,” Secretary of Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation (TRCF) Javaid Rahi said in a statement.
Mr. Rahi said, “Since the three-member interlocutors are finalising their report, we seek the help of the team to project an irreversible provision along with constitutional guarantees to reserve categories.
“We strongly plead for grant of social, cultural, economic and political empowerment of our tribe residing in far flung and difficult areas of the state,” he said.
He said a 10-page memorandum addressed to interlocutors -- Dilip Padgaonkar, Prof Radha Kumar and M M Ansari -- highlighted the problems and plight of the community and sought their favourable recommendations on 10 major issues faced by the tribals.
Mr. Rahi said the TRCF urged the team for a favourable recommendation on political empowerment of Gujjar Community through extension of political reservations under section 49 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The other demands projected in the memorandum include rehabilitation of nomad Gujjars, extension of Forest Right Act-2006 to Jammu and Kashmir, Providing Food Security for nomadic population among others,” he said.
Mr. Rahi said the community also demanded representation to Gojri language and culture in Indian Constitution, State Universities and conduct of special census of nomadic Gujjars.
He said a delegation of the community last year apprised the team that Gujjars are demanding a separate tribal council within the state on the pattern of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) so that their uniqueness could be protected and preserved properly.