An organisation representing Gujjars and Bakerwals said today the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe law, in its amended form, should be extended to Jammu and Kashmir to ensure social equality and provide speedy justice to tribals in the state.
The Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation (TRCF), founded by noted research and Guijjar scholar Javaid Rahi, said such a provision, if extended to Jammu and Kashmir, could not only prevent atrocities, discrimination and harassment against members of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities, but would also provide legal safeguard against "anti-tribal forces".
"The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment bill, passed by parliament, may be extended to Jammu and Kashmir so that the tribals in the state get the rights enjoyed by their counterparts in other parts of the country," the organisation said.
"The bill, which was passed recently by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Saba and sent to President of India for nod, is made to protect the life and dignity of tribal communities across India. However, this Act was not made applicable to the tribes of Jammu and Kashmir by virtue of the state's special status," it said.
"Either the Act be extended to Jammu and Kashmir or a parallel laws be drawn up in the state to address the issues of the tribals," the TRCF said and claimed that tribals in the state are living in a grim situation and there should be laws to protect their life and dignity.
Parliament on Thursday passed the bill to overturn a Supreme Court order concerning certain safeguards against arrest under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe law. It rules out any provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs notwithstanding any court order.
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