Shamsher Hakla Poonchi prominent Muslim Gujjar leader and intellectual of J&K said that theProblems and needs of Gujjar Bakarwal are quite different from other communities of the J&K state. Language and culture of Gujjar Bakarwal community is also different than those of other communities of this J&K state and that is why this community has its own peculiar position. Gujjar Bakarwal community and as such the community has a distinct identity.
Gujjar Bakarwal community mostly resides in far flung hilly areas near forests and on the Indo-Pak Line of Actual Control. The Gujjars & Bakarwals of J&K are still socially, educationally, economically & politically backward and are lagging behind.
Shamsher Hakla Poonchi said that on 19th April 1991 the Govt. of India while recognizing the backwardness of Gujjar Bakarwal community of Jammu And Kashmir State declared them as scheduled tribe. The president of India granted scheduled tribe status by way of Ordinance No. 03 of 1991 under article 342 of the Indian constitution to them. Despite the lapse of over 27 years since the grant of Scheduled tribe status, the government of Jammu and Kashmir could not implement it in letter and spirit to give full benefit of schedule tribe status to Gujjar Bakarwal community of J&K. it is pertinent to mention here that all the efforts made by central Govt. of India for the development of Gujjar Bakarwal community of J&K state, have been deliberately obstructed by the state Govt. for the past many decades which resulted in their utter political, social, economical and educational backwardness.
Shamsher Hakla Poonchi said that keeping in view the aforementioned circumstances and to ensure the all round development of Gujjar & Bakarwal community of J&K state, a separate state under the name of “Gujjarsthan” must be created, under the consitituoin of India.
It would be only then that their economical, educational, political and social backwardness would be removed, this community of Gujjar Bakarwal can be said to have got due justice and this is the goal towards which the eyes of this community are firmly focused.
Shamsher Hakla Poonchi said that the proposed area of Gujjarsthanstate comprises the areas from Jawahar Tunnel towards Uri to the west. On its southern side, we have the district of Poonch and Rajouri including Tehsil Mahore and Gulabgarh Tehsil of Reasi District besides Tehsil Gool of Ramban District. Towards north and north west lies the valley of Kashmir and the region beyond. Between the parallel range of these mountains there are narrow valleys with gorges carrying in their laps streams and nullahs of pure cold water flowing down from snowy peaks of the mountainous ranges. Far from being a dividing line, the range of Gujjarsthan is in fact a major lining of hills and mountains around which the saga of heroic Gujjars is woven from times immemorial.Strange though it may sound, but the reality is that the present day Kashmir Valley and Jammu division are the two climatically and topographically varying regions of Gujjarsthan state.
Shamsher Hakla Poonchi prominent Gujjar leader and an intellectual of J&K state demanded to the Prime Minister of India Sh. Narendra Modi to create a separate state for Gujjars and Bakarwals called “Gujjarsthan” in J&K under the constitution of India so that they can be developed socially, economically, politically and educationally.
In the present day scenario when there are voices being raised against the alleged discrimination with Jammu and Ladakh regions, it should be no wonder if justice is not done to Gujjar Bakarwal community, the tribe shall have no option than demanding a separate Gujjarsthan State.