Stop discrimination

When communities suffer, rulers have a duty to intervene

Subash Brahamnu Chhatriari
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jan 15 2018 11:29PM | Updated Date: Jan 15 2018 11:29PM
Stop discriminationRepresentational Pic

Gaddi and Sippi were granted the status of Scheduled Tribes in 1991. First and foremost aim of this status was to eradicate the bottlenecks in the development of these ethnic groups by uplifting and improving their socio- economic conditions. But it is sad that even after 25 years nothing much has been changed as was expected. It is very unfortunate that successive Governments of Jammu and Kashmir failed to implement and execute the the decision in letter and spirit. As a result of which the pace of  development for  Gaddi and Sippi community has been very slow. The story of  discrimination goes back to first step in the implementation of this status as dual communities were put into a Sub-category of Scheduled Tribes namely Scheduled Tribes Others (STO) having merely one percent of reservation that too alongwith a number of other ethnic groups. Although both the Tribal Groups have a unique identity, culture and history of their own. Still their share of reservation was clubbed with a number of other Tribal groups which is not only illogical but also an unconstitutional and discriminatory. Even a layman knows that one percent is not a sizeable figure to be shared between a number of tribal groups. Moreover both the groups have been widely discriminated as far as the Development and welfare avenues are concerned. There is neither an agency nor any Development Board to look after and Safeguard the interests and aspirations of Gaddi and Sippi community. Gaddies are traditionally shepherds and being so they used to move from one place to an other alongwith their flock for survival. Due to turmoil and disturbance in the last 25 years, this community had gone through a very bad phase physically, mentally and financially but unfortunately neither any compensation nor any rehabilitation framework has introduced for them. All this has forced the innocent Gaddi and Sippi of Jammu and Kashmir to live a miserable life even after getting the Status of Scheduled Tribes. Both the communities are having a sizeable population in more than five Districts of J & K State but their share in key departments or decision making agencies/process  is almost negligible. A group of Sippi community whose sub cast was wrongly entered as Koli instead of Sippi in their revenue  records were denied the Status of Scheduled Tribes and afterwards many times clarifications were submitted to successive Governments that Sippi and Koli are one and the same and even recently few legislators of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly have also raised this issue on the floor of the house but no action has been taken in this regard by the State Government. The list of prejudices and  discrimination with both the groups is vey long and painful which needs some  immediate and favourable actions from Government of Jammu and Kashmir in order to prevent further damage to the interests and aspirations of both the communities. 

Need is to address the issue and chief minister can make a huge contribution in this regard. Provide an adequate reservation in professional course, constitutean independent Board for the Development of Gaddi & Sippies and grant the Status of Scheduled Tribes to Kolies (who are actually Sippies). That will to a great extent pull these communities out of the mess they are in. 

(Subash Brahamnu Chhatriari is from Basantgarh Distt. Udhampur)


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