Amit Shah arrives in J&K; may announce ST tag for Pahari community

The move to give Paharis ST status has irked Gujjar and Bakerwal communities
Amit Shah arrives in J&K; may announce ST tag for Pahari community
Amit Shah arrives in J&K; may announce ST tag for Pahari community

ITDC INDIA EPRESS/ ITDC NEWS Union Home Minister Amit Shah has arrived in Jammu and  Kashmir for a three-day visit which will see him address two rallies - one in Rajouri district of the Jammu region on Tuesday and another in Baramulla in north Kashmir.

Shah arrived at the airport Monday evening and was received by     Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Union Minister Jitendra Singh.

Soon after his arrival, a delegation of the Dogra community  members called on Shah. The group, led by the Jammu and Kashmir unit chief of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Ravinder   Raina, thanked the Centre for declaring a state holiday on the birth anniversary of the last Dogra ruler of the region, Maharaja Hari Singh, on September 23.

The officials said representatives of the Gujjar, Bakerwal and Pahari communities also met the home minister separately and discussed their issues with him. A Sikh delegation also called on Shah, the officials said

This comes as the BJP has decided to announce Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to Paharis, a long-pending demand of the community residing in Rajouri and Poonch in the Jammu region and Baramulla in north Kashmir.

The proposal has cheered up the Paharis, who expect Shah to make this major announcement during his visit.

However, protests are raging against the move as the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities have voiced their dissent. Hundreds of Gujjar and Bakerwal college students have taken to the streets to stage a peaceful march against the move.

Once accorded the status, the Paharis will have a 10 per cent reservation in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly for the first time after a recent delimitation exercise. Nine seats have been reserved for the STs, while seven are reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SCs).

Meanwhile, a multi-tier security arrangement has been put in place for the Union Home minister's visit, and drones are being used for aerial surveillance as well. The checking on Jammu-Poonch and Srinagar-Baramulla highways has been intensified, while additional police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed to keep a close watch on the situation, they said.

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