Reaching out to the people in Jammu and Kashmir after scrapping of special status under Article 370, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav on Friday said seats will be reserved for the Scheduled Tribes, including Gujjars and Bakarwals, in the new Assembly.
He said delimitation of Assembly seats will be carried out to bring uniformity in parliamentary constituencies.
“All the benefits which are being enjoyed by Scheduled Tribes elsewhere in the country will now be available to you also in Jammu and Kashmir,” he told a meeting of Gujjars and Bakarwals here. Assembly seats were reserved for SCs after a long struggle but Kashmir-centric politicians did not extend the quota to STs while misusing provisions of Article 370, he said. “Now with Article 370 becoming history, the number of Assembly seats to be reserved will be fixed as per population of STs.”
Gujjars and Bakarwals have a population of nearly 16 lakh in Jammu and Kashmir and form the third largest ethnic group in the region after Kashmiris and Dogras.
On charges that the government’s move poses a threat to regional identity, Madhav said local residents will now be more powerful as political power will not remain confined to a few families in Srinagar. This power will reach every panchayat, block and district, he said. For this, all rules and regulations have to be made by October 31 when Jammu and Kashmir will become a Union Territory with an Assembly. “Delimitation of Assembly seats will have to be done in view of the new system,” he said.
He said “we have to detain” elements opposed to the merger of J&K into the Indian Union and that Central rule is needed in view of the prevailing situation.