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Muslims in Jammu stand by govt in scrapping of Article 370, Gujjar Bakarwals celebrate move

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Muslims in Jammu stand by govt in scrapping of Article 370, Gujjar Bakarwals celebrate move

Members of the Muslim community in some areas of the Jammu region "stand by the government" in its decision to scrap Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. They also want the government to ensure peace prevails, especially in sensitive border areas. The community has asked the government to ensure no communal tensions arise.

While restrictions were removed in Jammu city, phone communication remained suspended in border areas of Rajouri, Poonch, Kishtwar-Doda amid apprehensions over the law and order situation. The administration eased restrictions for Eid but voice calling remained suspended.

"Government decision [to scrap special status and bifurcate state] was taken at a high level, we stand by it. But we fear communal tensions. Some anti-social elements may try and spark trouble. The government should ensure calm. We have always lived in peace here and we want it to remain same," said Mohammed Zubaan, a resident of Rajouri.

DC Rajouri confirmed that some relaxation was provided for the Eid but Section 144 (unlawful assembly) was still in place as the district has a sensitive past.

"I also agree with government announcement because it will bring development but we need leaders to maintain peace. We also want relaxation on phone communication so we can connect with family," said Hussain, residing in a border town.

On the other side of the border, in the village of RS Pura, the Gujjar-Bakarwal Muslim community erupted in joy hoisting the tricolour.

Children were seen shouting patriotic slogans and eating sweets after offering namaz prayers.

"We were discriminated for more than 50 years. Finally, we will have political representation. Our children are not well educated, so reservation may also help us," said Liaquat Ali, the village head.

While Bakarwals are a nomadic shepherd tribe, Gujjars sell dairy products like buffalo milk.

"We have no profit margin when we sell milk. Difficult to maintain cattle. The government should help increase the selling-amount for us," said Quasimuddin, the oldest resident of the village in RS Pura.

Gujjars come under Scheduled Tribe- Scheduled Caste (SC/ST) that are eligible for reservations across India. They were denied this opportunity as per special status provisions. They are dependent on landowners, government and private sector like hospitality for business.