Srinagar: The Gujjar and Bakerwal community on Sunday met the Centre`s interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir and demanded a separate Pir Panchal Region and a Tribal Hill
A delegation of the community led by Javaid Rahi also stressed the need for grant of social, cultural, economic and political empowerment of community residing in far-flung and difficult areas of the state.
"Gujjars and Bakerwal community, being a suppressed community, deserves special attention of the state and Union governments," Rahi said, adding although Gujjars constitute 20 percent of the population in J&K, their presence is negligible in state affairs.
The delegation claimed that the community possessed a different identity, ideology and culture and the Gujjars demand a separate region with tribal council on the pattern of
Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils for Leh and Kargil.
Rahi said they also informed the team about problems being faced by the community and submitted a memorandum, seeking their recommendations for political reservations for
Their other demands included providing shelter and land to the nomad Gujjars who are landless and houseless since 1947. Inclusion of Gojri in the Eighth schedule of the
constitution and strengthening of Gojri wing of state academy of art, culture and languages in the state, he said.
Another Gujjar delegation led by Eshfaq-Ur-Rehman Poswal, president Akhil Bhartiya Gujjar Mahasabha, also met the interlocutors and requested them to visit the areas where the members of the community were living in "unfavourable conditions".