Will uplift, empower Gujjar & Bakerwal communities if voted to power in JK: Azad

Srinagar : Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) Chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday pledged to uplift and empower Gujjar and Bakerwal communities if voted to power in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Gujjar and Bakerwal communities have consistently been used as a vote bank by regional parties, without receiving genuine support or development, Azad said while addressing the communities in Mushkhud Devsar in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district today.

“I pledge to ensure that the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities are given the opportunities and resources they deserve to improve their quality of life,” he said.

The DPAP Chairman said these communities have borne the brunt of militancy and violence and continue to live in poverty without proper facilities.

He emphasized the need for change and promised that, if elected to power, his administration would prioritize the upliftment and development of these marginalized communities.

Azad condemned a senior leader from the National Conference (NC) for defaming the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities by accusing them of accepting money to cast votes.

“The Gujjar and Bakerwal communities have always upheld their principles and integrity. They have faced bullets but have never sold their soul for votes,” he asserted.

The former JK Chief Minister also slammed the regional parties for using religion to get votes, adding, “We must not involve religion in politics. Our focus should be on selecting leaders who can raise the voice of the people in parliament’.

He said that his return to state politics is driven by his dedication to the welfare of the underprivileged communities, particularly the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities.

“I have always prioritised the needs of the poor and marginalized”, Azad said and added “during my previous tenure, I ensured the distribution of free land to the poor, especially benefiting the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities. Unfortunately, the current government has reversed these gains and taken back the land from these deserving people.”

The DPAP Chairman announced his intention to reinstate the Roshni Scheme if given the mandate to form the government. The Roshni Scheme, which was originally introduced to provide land ownership rights to the underprivileged, will be a key focus of Azad’s agenda, he added.

Azad stated that his party will introduce a comprehensive land and job protection law for Jammu and Kashmir.

This law aims to safeguard the rights of the local population by restricting outsiders from applying for jobs and purchasing land in the region, he said.

“Our property and our jobs should be reserved for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. There is no justification for outsiders to come and take our share. Such protective laws exist in many states across India. Why should Jammu and Kashmir be treated any differently?” , he said.