Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation said on Sunday that attempts were being made to divide Gujjars and Bakerwals on ethnic lines especially in Poonch, Rajouri, Uri and Karanah tehsils of the state.
Addressing a meeting of community members, foundation secretary Javaid Rahi said, "Some people in the border areas of the state are trying to divide Gujjars and Bakerwals identities in two parts. These communities share the same history, culture and language, and all anthropological and genetic studies conducted on Gujjars-Bakerwals say that they are not separate identities."
He said that the Gujjars-Bakerwals were granted Tribal status in the state in 1991 after a study conducted by the central government. "The study revealed that Bakerwal was another name of Gujjars entered in revenue records, which was why both names were included while enlisting the community under tribal category in the Indian Constitution.
He said there had been reports from Pooch of alleged infusion of ethnic division between Gujjars and Bakerwals communities, which constitute more than 20% population of the state.