War of words on ST status to Paharis going strongly on social media platforms
POONCH TODAY NEWS
POONCH: It’s a clear fact that BJP wants to form a government in J&K UT and for that; the saffron party is ready to play any move. In this context, BJP tried to woo Paharis by saying that they will get ST status which remained their long pending demand. Even Home Minister Amit shah, during his visit a few months ago promised that Paharis will get their due share. The statement of Amit Shah increased the confidence of Paharis but at the same time, on social media platforms, a political war of words is going on strongly between few well known faces from Gujjar and Pahari communities. In the majority of posts between both the communities, opinion leaders are trying to level serious political allegations against each other. A prominent Pahari leader, while talking to ‘POONCH TODAY’ pleading anonymity, said, “They project themselves as ‘Kattar Hindustanis’ and in a planned way, branding Paharis as anti national before high setups in government and this is very unfortunate. In reality, Paharis are also hard core nationalist, but over the years, a political narrative was flouted by few opinion leaders belonging to their community to force successive union governments to concede their various demands on the plea that they are hard core nationalists” added “We don’t qualm their character, but its hurting us when they branded Paharis of Mandi, Surankote, Poonch, Mendhar and Rajouri as anti nationals due to the history of some anti national and communal incidents which took place in Poonch and Rajouri district in favour of separatism ideology during the recent past by few people.” He said, “Paharis represent real Hindustan and we fought against militancy and on the border against Pakistan. So, nobody should raise a question mark on the integrity of Paharis for the nation. If they are Indians, then we are also Indians”. This political tussle between both the communities people on social media has become a common scene. The saffron party is weighing every move smartly on this issue and if BJP fails to grant ST status to Pahari community people, then it will prove fatal for the saffron party in Poonch and Rajouri districts, feel political observers. A senior Pahari leader from Rajouri, while talking to a news channel, said, “We will support BJP if we get ST status and there is no second thought on that”. Another Pahari leader said, “We are real nationalist and this reflects in our culture. We are not like those who used to indulge in hollow nationalist slogans only. Though granting ST status to Paharis would be a challenging task for BJP politically, it would be interesting to see how the saffron party tackles this demand of Pahari speaking people. It is pertinent to mention here that when the ST status was given to Gujjar community in 90’s, Paharis were at S.No 1 of file which was sent by the J&K government to the then Union government, but a well managed planning was made and Paharis were denied their due share and due to that gaffe, Paharis have been fighting for their genuine right. Moreover, insiders in BJP camp told “POONCH TODAY” that few BJP leaders don’t trust either of them politically, because during 2014 and 2019 parliament elections, 85% of people belonging to both the communities voted totally against BJP in Poonch and Rajouri districts, so winning the confidence of BJP top brass on trust basis would be a challenging task for both the tribes. Will BJP led union government Grant ST status to Paharis? Only time will tell.