Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sindh Today – Online News » Paharis and Gujjars fight over rights

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    • In Jammu and Kashmir a war of words is going on between Paharis, who are demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, and Gujjars, who have the status since April 1991 but don’t want the Paharis to get it.

      People of the Pahari community live in mountainous areas of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The language they speak is also called Pahari. Roughly 10 percent of the 11 million people of Jammu and Kashmir are Paharis. They include Hindus – Brahmins, Rajputs – and Muslims.

      Gujjars form about 15 percent of the state’s population. They are tribals and can be either Muslim or Hindu.

    • The Paharis under the leadership of Bukhari are mobilising through demonstrations in Poonch and Rajouri districts. The assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir in 2008 were fought on sharp caste, tribe and linguistic divides in this region.

      It was during this time that sharp divisions between Gujjars and Paharis came to the fore.

    • (Binoo Joshi can be contacted at

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