Now, J&K Gujjars want to play host | india | Hindustan Times
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Now, J&K Gujjars want to play host

india Updated: Sep 28, 2009 00:03 IST
Arun Joshi

Offering Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi

makki ki roti



, a foundation for the Gujjar and Bakerwal community of Jammu and Kashmir has invited him to stay with them for a day.

The invitation came after Gujjars learnt of the Congress leader’s overnight stays in Dalit villages in Uttar Pradesh.

“The Gujjars of Jammu and Kashmir today extended an exclusive invitation to Congress general secretary and Lok Sabha MP Rahul Gandhi to visit the state and stay with them in their tribal huts and nomadic dharas (temporary shelters),” a statement from the organisation said.

The invitation was extended to Gandhi on Sunday by the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, an organisation comprised of nomadic communities in the state.

The foundation’s secretary, Javaid Rahi, urged Gandhi to experience the tough life led by the three million “alienated and neglected” Gujjars and Bakerw-als. “We, Muslim Gujjars, have been marginalised in this Muslim-majority state,” the foundation’s invitation letter to Gandhi said.

Rahi said the condition of the Gujjars and Bakerwals in Jammu and Kashmir was no better than that of Dalits in other parts of the country. “Our glorious tribal identity is facing a great threat of vanishing and our language, Gojri, and our culture is on the verge of extinction,” the letter said.

The letter said that lakhs of Gujjars and Bakerwals the state are landless, shelterless and lacking basic education, healthcare, communication facilities and other amenities.