Ronik Sharma, Advocate, J&K
In Jammu and Kashmir the Union territory administration directly or indirectly playing with the sentiments and future of the generations of "Pahari Tribe" Community. Pahari Tribe Community of J&K are a socio-cultural and linguistic minority and are also socioeconomically and educationally backward in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and scattered throughout the Union Territory of J&K with their population dense in areas of Poonch , Rajouri, Kupwara and  Baramulla Districts. Pahari people are also known for their patriotism. Pahari Tribe Community always stand and tendered their continuous Support in a responsible manner in the present security scenario especially border areas of Jammu and Kashmir.The then  Government of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir vide Cabinet decision No. 159 in 1989 identified and recommended the Paharis, Gujjars, Bakerwals, Gaddi, Bazigar and Saniasi to be declared and notified as Schedule Tribes, excluding the Pahari Community out of the same recommendation i.e Gujjars, Bakerwals and Gaddis have been declared as Scheduled Tribe by the Government of India. On the other hand, with the scheduling of the Gujjars and Bakerwals as tribes, the Pahari Tribe Community are not able to get other benefits who are  mainly concentrated in remote areas of the borders. The Union territory Administration headed by Hon'ble  Lieutenant Governor issued a notification S.O 127 dated 20-4-2020. In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 23 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act 2004 and Hon'ble Lieutenant Governor directed for the amendment in the Reservation Rules of 2005 and reserved 4% Reservation for the Pahari Speaking People. As per the definition as mentioned in the amended Rules of the Reservation Rules 2005."In Rule -2, After clause (xi), the following shall be inserted, namely: "(xia)"Pahari Speaking People means the persons belonging to Pahari Community,Clan or Tribe having distinct, Cultural,Ethnic and linguistic identity to be identified in such a manner as prescribed by the authority".Pahari Community people were not happy with this notification of 4% Reservation for Paharis because they have been struggling for Schedule Tribe Status from last last so many decades.No doubt,these people are speaking a distinct language (Pahari or Potohari) as their mother tongue. As per 1941, Census Pahari has been recorded as one of the Language spoken like other languages in the erstwhile State of J&K. A large Section of Pahari Community People got displaced and scattered in different Parts of Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the Country due to the direct attack of the  Pakistan in Mirpur and Muzaffarabad (Now POJK) Since 1947.The then government of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir government has already recommended to Government of India that Pahari Tribe should be declared as a Scheduled Tribe. It is very unfortunate, despite number of recommendations from the Successive governments in erstwhile State of J&K for the Pahari Tribe Community of Jammu and kashmir for grant of Schedule Tribe Status from last three decades Scheduled Tribe Status not provided to them.Shockingly, while issuing another new notification for issuance of the Certificate for Pahari Community people the Union territory Administration again created a division among the Pahari Community people by putting a barrier for Pahari Community People whose income from all sources is above Rs. 8.00 lacs would not be able to get the 4% Reservation benefit as per the Notification issued by the Social Welfare Department dated 16-7-2020. As per the Section 23 of Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004, vide notification no. 127 dated 20.04.2020,Rule 2(xi a) was inserted to provide reservation to the 'Pahari Speaking People'.The certificate to be issued as per Form XV to the Pahari Speaking People by the Tehsildar concerned in terms of Rule 21 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Rules 2005. In Rule-21 after clause (viii), the following clause ix added,
A person claiming the benefit under this Category must be a member of a Pahari Clan, Community or Tribe having distinct Cultural, Ethnic and Linguistic identity. He/She must be speaking Pahari Language and his/her mother tongue Must be Pahari.He/She must Produce Aadhar card /voter identity Card/Domicile Certificate.Further,Tehsildar shall be the authority to certify the claims of persons belonging to said category. keeping in view the provision of Section 2(o) of the J&K Reservation Act, 2004, it is reiterated that Proviso Second of clause (o) of section 2 of the Reservation Act, 2004 which provides for income ceiling up to Rs 8.00 lacs is applicable to all categories of the "socially and educationally backward classes" including Pahari CommunityPeople.
Since there is no ceiling criterion income in case of Scheduled Tribe and Schedule Caste why this ceiling of Rs 8 lac has been imposed upon the Pahari Tribe ? It is totally discriminatory and ultra vires of the Constitution of India Government may kindly look into it and remove the anomaly, So that Pahari People they come at par with other reserve Category and are benefitted by the concession given by the Government. Further it is also urged that Government of India Should consider and Include Pahari Tribe in a schedule that enables the distinct tribe to acquire the Status of Schedule Tribe.