Srinagar: In addition to Paharis, the GD Sharma commission has also recommended ST status for the Paddari tribe, Gadda Brahmans and Kolis in Jammu and Kashmir. Sources said the inclusion of these tribes along with Paharis as STs has been recommended by the Sharma commission and these recommendations have been received by the Union ministry of tribal affairs. “The draft recommending the inclusion of Paharis, Paddari tribals, Kolis and Gadda Brahmans as STs will have to be approved by the Union cabinet after which it will be tabled before Parliament. This can happen during the November-December winter session of the Parliament,” sources added. 

For the inclusion of these communities as STs in Jammu and Kashmir as per the recommendations of the Sharma commission, Parliament will have to pass an amendment to the country`s Reservation Act.

Gujjars and Bakarwals had quota in jobs and education even before the abrogation of Article 370, but they did not have any political reservation. The delimitation commission has given them political reservation by including 9 seats, 4 in the Kashmir division and 5 in the Jammu division, in the 90-member J&K for STs. The Assembly elections are likely to be held next year in the UT.

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At present, 744 castes are categorised as STs in the country. The GD Sharma commission recommendations follow the report of the delimitation commission headed by Justice (Retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai that has reserved 9 seats for STs and 6 for the SCs in the 90-seated J&K Assembly.

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With the inclusion of Pahari tribals, Paddaris, Kolis and Gadda Brahmans, it is possible that the number of seats reserved for the STs in the J&K Assembly might go up. In job reservation, the STs get 10 per cent while the SCs get 8 per cent.

During his recent visit to J&K, Union Home Minister Amit Shah promised ST status for the Pahari community. Shah also said that the grant of ST status to Paharis would not undermine the ST rights of the local Gujjars and Bakarwals in any manner.

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I4K Staff

India 4 Kashmir is a Pan-India movement to reclaim our lost ground and rehabilitate common Indians in Kashmir with dignity and honour.