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Scheduled Tribe (ST) Status For The Pahari Community

Scheduled Tribe (ST) Status For The Pahari Community:

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has announced Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for the Pahari community in Jammu and Kashmir.

  • He said that Justice GD Sharma Commission has recommended reservation for Paharis, Gujjars and Bakerwals and after completion of the administrative process, these communities will get reservation benefits.
  • The Pahari community is a linguistic group mainly residing in the Pir Panjal valley.
  • They constitute of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs and make up around 10-11 per cent of the population in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Their mother tongue, Pahari, is an offshoot of Pothwari language with varying dialects and their own unique culture.
  • They usually reside in rural areas and are majorly involved in agricultural and cattle activities.
  • The criteria presently followed for specification of a community as a Scheduled Tribe are : (i) indications of primitive traits, (ii) distinctive culture, (iii) geographical isolation, (iv) shyness of contact with the community at large, and (v) backwardness. However, these criteria are not spelt out in the Constitution.
  • Article 342 prescribes the procedure to be followed in the matter of specification of Scheduled Tribes.
  • Under Clause (1) of Article 342, the President may, with respect to any State or Union Territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor thereof, notify tribes or tribal communities or parts of these as Scheduled Tribes.
  • This confers on the tribe, or part of it, a Constitutional status invoking the safeguards provided for in the Constitution, to these communities in their respective states/UTs.
  • Clause (2) of the Article 342 empowers the Parliament to pass a law to include in or exclude from the List of Scheduled Tribes, any tribe or tribal community or parts of these.
  • The List of Scheduled Tribes is State/UT specific and a community declared as a Scheduled Tribe in a state need not be so in another state/UT.