Jammu: A prominent Gujjar leader in Jammu and Kashmir said Sunday his community and the Bakerwal tribe favours continuation of Article 370 and Article 35A that provides special status to the state.
“The Gujjars and Bakarwals are in favour of continuation of Article 35A and Article 370 of the Constitution. We will strongly protest if these articles are removed,” Shamsher Hakla Poonchi said in a statement.
The Gujjar leader appealed to the Supreme Court and the Centre to not take any step in order to abolish these articles as the state “was brought under the territory of India only because of this Article 370”.
“If these articles are abolished, the relation between Jammu and Kashmir and India will weaken besides worsening the situation in Kashmir,” he said.
The comments come ahead of a hearing in the Supreme Court on Article 35A of the Constitution.
Poonchi claimed that 34-lakh Gujjars and Bakerwals of the state were strongly in favour of the continuation of the constitutional provisions.
Meanwhile, Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation founder and noted Gujjar researcher Javaid Rahi demanded that grazing lands must not be converted for any purposes in the state. He said such changes could badly affect centuries-old migratory traditions of Gujjars, Bakerwals, Gaddis, Sippis and Chanpas of Ladakh.
“Such conversions are adversely affecting tribal migratory culture and nomadic way of life of Scheduled Tribes, who are already passing through tough times in Jammu and Kashmir,” Rahi said.
Rahi asked for a law immediately and restrict conversion of grazing land, including its change of title or ownership of the land in the state. “The grazing land must be used for animal rearing only and should strictly kept for the tribal community’s use.” PTI