SRINAGAR: A day after Mushtaq Bukhari, a two time MLA, resigned from the party saying it does not support his community’s struggle for ST status, National Conference’s Pahari leaders have issued a joint statement. They said that the party has been strongly pleading for the grant of Scheduled Tribe status to Pahari speaking people without disturbing the reservation already granted to other communities
In a statement issued here, the Pahari leaders recalled the recommendation made to the Centre in this regard by Omar Abdullah in his capacity as Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister in April 2014.
In a joint statement, issued from Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan, the Pahari leaders, Ajaz Jan, Mohd Aslam Khan, Vipan Pal Sharma, Rahim Daad, Ikhlaq Khan, Shafayat Ahmed Khan, Muzaffar Iqbal Khan, Bushan Uppal, Harcharan Singh Khalsa, Sardar Nirman Singh, Ch Wali Daad, Th Yashu Vardan Singh, Master Shamsher Singh, Sayed Peer Anayat Bukhari, Th Rameshwar Singh, Syed Khurshid Shah, Abdul Had Bhat, Abdul Had Commrde, Manzoor Malik, Shaquet Mir, Mushtaq Shawl and Aftab Lone said that the National Conference has been the custodian of interests of all the segments of the society and it was in this context that 5 per cent reservation in the professional and technical colleges had been granted by the Omar Abdullah led the government to the students belonging to Pahari speaking communities.
The Pahari leaders also recalled the assurance held out by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during her public meeting at Rajouri in March 1983 that if the State Government recommended, the Centre would grant the ST status to these communities. They said the then State Government led by Dr Farooq Abdullah sent a strong recommendation for the grant of ST status to Pahari speaking people as also the Gujjars and Bakerwals of Jammu and Kashmir. Subsequently, the issue was raised by Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah in their capacities as Chief Ministers with the successive Prime Minister’s Rajiv Gandhi, V P Singh, Chander Shekhar, I K Gujral, Deve Gowda, P V Narsimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Dr Manmohan Singh, they said adding that the issue has been taken up with the present dispensation as well.
The leaders said that the National Conference will ensure that the interests of any community are harmed and it was with this intent the recommendation had been made for the grant of ST status to Pahari Speaking People in a way that it does not clash with the interests of other segments of society already brought under the reserved categories of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe.