People residing along the International Border (IB) with Pakistan have accused the Jammu and Kashmir government of discrimination by depriving them of job reservation that was granted to those residing along the Line of Control (LOC) and the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Governor Satya Pal Malik’s recent move to grant 3% reservation to the Pahari speaking people of the state has created a flurry of demands for reservation from various communities.
Residents along the IB claim that they were almost daily facing shelling by Pakistan Rangers as a result of which people were getting killed or maimed. Their properties were also getting destroyed and cattle head perishing due to the indiscriminate shelling and they have to shift to migrant camps.
They allege that residents of the LOC along Pakistan occupied Kashmir and LAC along China, who mostly belong to a particular community, were given job reservation long time back while those suffering on the IB were being given neglectful treatment.
The BJP, during the 2014 elections, had promised job reservation to the residents of IB at par with those of LOC. It is learned that the State Commission for Backward Classes had some time back recommended 3% reservation for residents of IB between Akhnoor and Paharpur in Kathua but the file was not being worked upon in the secretariat.
It is also learned that the Commission has recommended that about 385 villages, covering a population of nearly 3 lakh residing within 6 km of the IB in the three districts of Jammu, Samba, and Kathua, be granted 3% reservation in jobs and admission to professional institutes on par with that of LOC and LAC.
It is also being alleged that mostly the residents of the Kashmir valley were benefitting out of the 20% reservation that is available to Residents of Backward Area (RBA). About 2,800 villages of Kashmir and about 428 of Jammu division fall under the RBA category.
The Commission has reportedly recommended that 60 more villages, 30 each of Jammu and the Valley, be given the benefit of RBA.
Following a lot of political pressure, a reservation of 3% is also learned to have been recommended by the Commission for the Koli community. The Jats were also demanding reservation for the community.
Meanwhile, chief spokesman of BJP, Sunil Sethi, has supported reservation for residents of the IB. He said the nation can’t ignore the immense contribution of border residents who are part of the first defence along with security forces and the nation is indebted to the high spirit and nationalism exhibited by them. Sethi accused the PDP of having created hurdles in granting reservation to residents of IB.