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Gujjars angry at low allocation for tribals in Kashmir budget


Jammu : The nomadic Gujjars, who comprise about 20 percent of the 11 million population of Jammu and Kashmir, are angry at the “meagre” allocation for tribal welfare in the state budget 2009-10.

In the budget proposals, presented by Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather in the assembly Monday, Rs.20 crore (Rs. 200 million) has been allocated for the tribal plan. This amount is to be shared with various schemes for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes (SCs) as well as for women and children.

“This is sheer injustice. How can the government attend to the problems of Gujjars, spread all across the state, with this meagre amount?” Haji Shamsher Ali Boken, president of the Jammu and Kashmir Gujjar Forum, said in a statement.

Gujjars are present in most of the 22 districts of the state, and have been agitating for reservation in the legislative bodies as per their population. They have only five legislators in the 87-member state assembly.

“Now, they have denied us our due in the tribal plan allocation,” Boken said.

“We will not tolerate this injustice,” said Hakim Din, another Gujjar leader.

According to sources, even the Gujjar ministers in the government are angry over this “discrimination” in the tribal plan allocation in the 2009-10 budget.