In a major announcement ahead of the Jammu and Kashmir elections, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is on a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, on Tuesday said that the Gujjar, Bakerwal and Pahari communities in the Union Territory will be accorded reservation benefits in accordance with the recommendations of the Justice Sharma Commission.
Addressing a rally today in Rajouri following his arrival in Jammu Monday night, Shah said that the abrogation of Article 370 has paved the way for providing reservation benefits to the deprived sections of society in Jammu and Kashmir. The Home Minister further said there will be no decline in ST quota of Gujjars and Bakerwals and Paharis and everyone will get their share.
“The Justice Sharma Commission has recommended and it includes Paharis, Bakerwal and Gujjars for ST quota benefits. These recommendations have been received and soon after completion of legal procedure, Gujjars, Bakerwals and Paharis will get the reservation benefits,” he said, according to PTI.
Shah said that the issue of ST status has been used to instigate Gujjars and Bakerwals against Paharis but failed.
Coming down heavily on the Opposition, the Home minister said that the abrogation of Article 370 has ensured that power rests in the hands of 30,000 people who were elected to panchayats and district councils through fair elections instead of the earlier practice where just three political families used to rule the erstwhile state.
“Earlier, all money sent by the Centre for development was usurped by a few, but now everything is spent on people’s welfare,” he said, adding that the development of Jammu and Kashmir remains Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s priority.
“I want to appeal to you to free Jammu and Kashmir from the clutches of these three families and to make hands of Modi strong for betterment and welfare of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Shah also lauded the Modi government’s crackdown against terrorists and claimed that the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir has improved significantly.
“As a result, the death toll of security forces has come down from 1,200 every year to 136 this year,” Shah added.
The Home Minister will now visit Baramullah where he is scheduled to address another rally today. The Home Minister is also expected to chair a security review meeting which will be attended by the Lt Governor, senior officers of Jammu and Kashmir Police and central armed police forces (CAPFs) and intelligence agencies of the UT and the Centre.
Shah is also slated to lay the foundation of many developmental works, including a convention complex in Jammu city. The Lt Governor will host a dinner for the Home minister on Tuesday evening before the minister returns to Delhi on October 5.