Grant ST status to Pahari community

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Respected Foreign Diplomats,
It is a great honour to welcome you all visiting dignitaries in Jammu region of J&K. Jammu is a mosaic cultural and ethnic centre, where people of all shades grow together. It is also known as Mini-India. I come from frontier region of Pir Panjal which comprises of District Rajouri and District Poonch and belong to Pahari community, comprising over 1.1 million people, constituting nearly 9 per cent of the population of Jammu and Kashmir. This Pahari community comprises of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs & Christians. Majority of the Pahari community people live in two districts of Jammu region namely Rajouri & Poonch and two districts in Kashmir Valley namely Kupwara and Baramulla. The Pahari community is the most nationalist community and hardcore Indian. The Phari Community people (Youth) love to join Indian Army and Para-military forces to serve the Mother- land. In last 35 years of Pakistan sponsored terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir, this Pahari community, a Muslim majority community, always supported Indian Army, Jammu and Kashmir Police & Civil administration and stood firmly with the Country. Partition of J&K 74 years back hit us the worst as nearly half a million of our population migrated to the other side of the State that we know as PoJK. Firstly we suffered in 1947 when Pakistani forces attacked J&K and subsequently in 1965, when Pakistan attacked our country, we witnessed another exodus of Paharis.
Nearly 64 per cent of the total population of Pahari speakers of Jammu and Kashmir reside in Rajouri and Poonch districts alone while the remaining 34 per cent in Kashmir Valley. Pahari people mostly live in the LoC/border areas in J&K and suffered in the times of war, external aggression and Pakistan sponsored terrorism in J&K. One very significant demand of this nationalist Pahari community is to grant them ‘Scheduled Tribe Status’ (ST Status). All the successive Governments ignored Pahari community badly and did criminal injustice with Pahari people but it was only a year ago that Govt of India led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave us some solace in the form of 4 per cent reservation in public sector employment and admission to educational and professional institutions, as an affirmative action.
Though Reorganisation Act of 2019 has exposed us to a serious challenge in wake of implementation of constitutional provisions related to political reservation in highest legislative bodies and institution of local governance, we express our sincere gratitude to the Prime Minister of India and the Home Minister for taking all necessary care for this community in Jammu and Kashmir. We are quite sure that Modi Government will do the justice with this hard-core nationalist community by granting it Scheduled Tribe Status in near future.
Mohd. Iqbal Malik,
Elected DDC Member- Dhral (Rajouri) J&K.

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