PDP General Secretary Rafi Ahmad Mir Wednesday said the systematic neglect which the Gujjars faced over the years was due to the exploitative politics of National Conference which has pushed the community to the wall.
Addressing a meeting of Gujjar community delegates here, he said the PDP has a clear vision about solving their problems.
He said NC has always used Gujjars as its vote bank and audience for its public meetings and did nothing concrete in return for their social and educational uplift. Mir said the Gujjars are an important section of the society but, unfortunately, the benefits of development have not reached them till now, as the NC has never allowed it to happen. "The community needs a focussed and composite development plan to ensure progress and respectable life," he added.
Rafi Mir said even though the community had traditionally supported and voted for National Conference, but all key welfare majors, benefiting the community, were taken when NC was out of power. He said the tribal status to the community was granted when NC and Congress were not in power. Similarly, mega projects like the Mughal road and the Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, which are of special significances for Poonch and Rajouri regions having larger concentration of Gujjars, were initiated by the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led government. In contrast to this, he said, the previous NC Congress led government has failed to construct the model schools sanctioned by the Government of India for tribal students at every district headquarter.
"Similar was the fate of Gujjar Bakerwal hostels which were in a mess and the special scholarship schemes offered by the Govt of India to tribal students in past 6 years due to neglect of Omar Abdullah led government."
He stressed on the need of improving their educational and health care facilities and said the PDP is committed to work for their welfare and the incumbent government will revamp existing schemes so that the community is empowered enough to lead a decent life. "PDP will ensure that the benefit of every centrally sponsored scheme reaches to them which so far has not been happening due to nefarious designs of NC," Mir added.