Poonch—Shamsher Hakla Poonchi, a prominent Gujjar leader and intellectual of Jammu and Kashmir Tuesday said 34 Lakh Gujjar Bakarwals of the state are in favour continuation of Article 35-A.
He said that that in the state of J&K excluding Ladakh region Gujjar Bakarwal can be found in all the districts while there are two sects of Gujjars in J&K viz. Gujjar and Bakarwal. Bakarwals are about 10 lakh in whole state and Gujjar are about 24 lakh.
Hakla said the problems and need of Gujjars Bakarwals are quite different from other communities of J&K state. He said that the language and culture of this community is also different than those of other communities of this state and that is why this community has its own peculiar position. Gujjar Bakarwal community is different and as such the community has a distinctive identity.
Gujjar Bakarwal community mostly resides in far flung hilly, mountainous areas near forests and on the Indo-Pak line of Control.
Shamsher Hakla Poonchi said that 34 lakh Gujjars Bakarwals of J&K state are in favour of Article 35-A and demanded that it should remain and continue as it was.
Mr. Hakla said that if this article would be removed from the J&K state, then Gujjars Bakarwals would strongly protest against it as it provides a special status to the state of J&K.