Article 370 aftermath: Demand for protecting Jammu’s Dogra identity

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]AYS after prominent leaders of Ladakh made a fervent appeal to the Centre to declare the region a tribal area under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been urged to take measures to safeguard the Dogra identity of Jammu region.

As restive border state continues to be on the edge after the cancellation of its special constitutional status, Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party has raised alarm over perceived threats to “Dogra culture, heritage and identity”.

Party chairman and former minister in state government Harsh Dev Singh has appealed to the MHA to take measures to safeguard Dogra culture.

In a written representation to the ministry, Singh sought immediate revival of Dogra certificates for the youths of region, a practice which had been discontinued in the recent past.

The memorandum said, “the most contemptuous disregard for the sentiments of Dogra youth was shown by the successive former state governments which declined issuing Dogra certificates to the Jammu youth, a practice that was started during Maharaja Hari Singh’s rule.”

“The certificate is a symbol of pride for the valiant Dogras who extended the boundaries of the state up to China and Tibet. This certificate further facilitates the entry of Dogras into Indian armed forces by providing them certain relaxations and concessions due to their special characteristics,” it added.

“It is unfortunate that the practice was discontinued during Congress–NC rule with PDP-BJP alliance also refusing to revive it,”  the memorandum complained, alleging that “The issuance of Dogra certificates was denied to appease the separatists and other anti- Jammu forces.”