NC custodian of interests of all segments of J&K society: Omar Abdullah

Srinagar May 16 : The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Monday said that the National Conference has been strongly pleading for the grant of Scheduled Tribe status to Pahari speaking people without disturbing the reservation quota already granted to other communities.

This he said while addressing a public gathering at Mendhar today. Among others General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar, Senior Leaders Mian Altaf Ahmed, Javed Rana, Chief Spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq, Provincial President Rattan Lal Gupta, YNC Provincial President Aijaz Jan, Deputy political secretary to VP Mudassir Shahmiri and Additional Spokesperson Zeeshan Rana were present on the occasion.

Addressing the people, Omar said that National conference has been custodian of interests of all the segments of the society and it was in this context that five per cent reservation in the professional and technical colleges was granted by the NC government to the students belonging to Pahari speaking communities. “The notion that NC is averse to reservation for Paharis is fictitious and far from reality. All we want is to have reservation for Paharis without disturbing the share that has been given to the Gujjars previously.”

Recalling the assurance held out by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi that if the State Government recommends, the Centre would grant the ST status to these communities. He 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 myself in our 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. The issue has been taken up with the present dispensation as well. The present dispensation’s attitude to the issue is no different, they have been offering only hollow promises,” he said.

He said that the National Conference is of the view that the interests of any community are not 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.(KNS)

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