Jammu: A Gujjar body in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday said their community members are Indians and they do not need a certificate of nationalism and patriotism from anyone, remarks that come against the backdrop of some groups demanding their eviction from the region.
"We have sacrificed our blood for this nation and do not need certificates of being Indian from any group or people," the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation said in a statement after a meeting .
It said, the meeting, presided over by noted Gujjar scholar Javaid Rahi, was held to discuss the prevailing situation in Jammu region in relation to issues of tribal Gujjars and Bakerwals.
"Gujjars constitute the second largest group in Jammu region after Dogras and have immensely contributed to the overall peace and prosperity of the region and the state," it said, adding people of Jammu are very kind to Gujjars but some "divisive forces" must be identified and separated at the earliest.
Several groups have been demanding eviction of Gujjars and Bakerwals, accusing the PDP-led government of taking no action against them for encroaching to change the demography of the region.
"In extremely testing times we stand with the people of our region but there are some forces who are now hell bent to break this age-old unity and brotherhood," the foundation said.
Referring to the frequent Pakistan firing being faced by Gujjars living in border areas of Jammu region, it said, "Every year dozens of Gujjars and their livestock get killed near the border, hundreds are injured and thousands of people migrate every year to safer places during the heavy gunfire, but in this side of our country, we need a certificate of being nationalist.
"This is completely disgusting and unfortunate," it said, adding during the 1947, 1965 and 1971 wars, the Gujjars faced the major brunt as they were killed in large numbers along the Line of Control and International Border but on Sunday "we are facing hardship as tolerance level towards our community is going downward day by day."
It said communal forces in the region have wrongly given a chance to separatists to react on Gujjar affairs in Jammu and "this is not in the interest" of the state and the country.
Separatists in Kashmir have issued statements in recent times, threatening agitation if the Muslims of Jammu were harmed. The foundation appealed leaders and intellectuals of both communities to bind them together.
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Updated Date: Mar 18, 2018 21:26:35 IST