Amid the announcement of some tribal groups to launch an agitation against the alleged dilution of their rights, Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha on Tuesday assured Gujjars, Bakewals, Giddis, and Sippis that the government is committed to safeguarding their rights at any cost.
"I assure you with the responsibility that your interests and rights will be protected at any cost", the Lieutenant Governor said while addressing a "Janjatiya Samagam" on the launch of week-long festivities on Janjatiya Gaurav Divas, at Jammu.

LG Manoj Sinha

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working tirelessly to fulfill the dreams of tribals. I urge people not to fall for those instigating people on the reservation", he said and reminded that Union Home Minister Amit Shah has assured that Gujjars and other tribal communities' interests will be protected and there will be no decrease in their quota even by one percent.

"I urge those undertaking Padyatra to return home. Some people with vested interest are spreading rumours on the reservation. They are the same people who do not want peace and progress in the region", the Lt Governor said.

"We recognize the critical role and contribution of tribal community in the development of J&K UT. They are the prime mover of progress. Tribal community is our moral compass and taught us the values of co-existence, oneness, harmony, and sustainable living", he said.

The Lieutenant Governor further added that after decades of wait Prime Minister has transformed the dream of social equity and justice into reality. It has brought a fast and radical change in the lives of tribal communities and paved the path for socio-economic growth.

Gujjars-Bakerwals launched "Tribal Bachao Yatra"

As reported earlier some groups of Gujjars and Bakerwals have already announced to start of a "Tribal Bachao Yatra" (Save Tribals protest). This Yatra has been started to oppose the move of the government to grant ST status to Pahari ethnic group.

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While addressing a rally at Rajouri on October 4, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has promised that ST status will be granted to Paharies, but not at the cost of the rights of existing scheduled tribes of the Union Territory.

He assured Gujjars and Bakerwals that this decision will not dilute the rights of the communities which are already enjoying the ST status. "There will be no effect on the reservation of Gujjars and Bakewals even by one percent," Shah had assured.

But some groups of Gujjars and Bakerwals have strongly opposed this move of the Union Government.

Some groups of Gujjars and Bakewals on Wednesday under the banner of the "Jammu and Kashmir Gujjars and Bakerwals Organisations Co-ordination Committee" expressed their apprehensions about the dilution of their rights.

The Committee anguished over the report of Justice (Retd) G D Sharma Commission and termed it as biased and against the interest of Scheduled Tribes, OBCs, and deprived sections of the people.
These groups announced to launch of an agitation against the decision to grant ST status to Paharis.

"We will mobilize our community to register protest against the grant of ST status to Pahari-speaking people who belong to upper castes of society" Anwar Chowdhary, convenor of the committee, said in Jammu.