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BJP's 10% quota bill: Mr Lone, all are Paharis in J&K
1/10/2019 11:16:21 PM

Early Times Report
Jammu, Jan 10: The Narendra Modi Government has finally won the battle and created a history of sorts by getting passed a 124th constitutional amendment bill that reserved 10 per cent jobs in the services and 10 per cent seats in educational institutions for the economically weaker sections among the general category. Lok Sabha adopted it by a massive majority on January 8 and the Rajya Sabha adopted it on Wednesday night with a huge margin. In the Lok Sabha, 323 members voted for the bill and three opposed it. As many as 219 members abstained from voting. In Rajya Sabha, 165 members voted in favour and 7 against. Political analysts termed the adoption of the bill as a "game-changer" and "PM Narendra Modi's master-stroke".
The adoption of the 10 per cent quota bill invoked sharp reaction in Kashmir with the NC vice-president Omar Abdullah and People's Conference chairman and former minister Sajad Lone. Omar Abdullah criticized the Modi government and tried to create an impression that what the Modi Government did was no more than a political stunt and that it mooted the 10 per cent reservation move to improve its poll prospects. He questioned the very intentions of the Narendra Modi Government and asked why did it think of such a bill on the last day of the winter session in the Lok Sabha?
Sajad Lone took a different line. He talked about reservation for Pahari-speaking people and the bill to that effect adopted by the J&K Assembly, which has yet to get the assent of the Governor. The Bill to this effect was passed by the PDP-BJP coalition government in 2017. The Government sent the Bill to the Governor for his assent, but it hasn't happened so far.
Sajad Lone doesn't know that all the people in the State of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, barring those inhabiting the plains of Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts and the Kashmir Valley proper, are Paharis. Paharis are not a distinct ethnic group. Those who inhabit the mountainous and hilly areas are called Paharis. Similarly, there exists no such language as Pahari anywhere in the world. In J&K, there are people in Ponch-Rajouri belt and Baramulla-Kupwara belt who speak Pathowari language. To call it Pahari would be a misnomer.
The fact of the matter is that the bill adopted by the J&K Assembly in 2017 only termed the people of Poonch-Rajouri belt and Baramullah-Kupwara belt as Pahari. It ignored the entire Ladakhi population and overlooked the entire population inhabiting the mountainous and hilly areas in Ramban, Doda, Bhadrwah, Reasi and Udhampur districts; parts of the Kathua and Samba districts in Jammu province and many hilly and mountainous areas of Kashmir region. Sajad Lone would do well to admit that his bill was flawed and politically motivated.
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