Governor Satya Pal Malik on Thursday approved the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2014, that grants a quota in government jobs to the Pahari community, the Greater Kashmir reported.

A spokesperson said the procedure for identification of those eligible will be notified soon. The amendment accommodates the Pahari community, who have distinct cultural, ethnic and linguistic identity among the socially and educationally backward classes, other than scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, he said.

The spokesperson said the amendment was a long-pending demand. “Because of the remoteness and inaccessibility of the areas of their residence, the Pahari community has historically faced considerable economic distress leading to overall socio-economic backwardness,” he said.

Former Finance Minister Syed Altaf Bukhari welcomed the development. “With his assent, the governor has fulfilled a long-pending demand of this tribe in the state for which the present dispensation deserves accolades,” Bukhari said. “So far this community was subjected to considerable economic backwardness leading to its disempowerment.”

Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti also praised the decision. She claimed that the decision was taken under her erstwhile administration in February 2018 and that she is “thankful to the governor for giving his assent to that vital decision”.

Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone also welcomed the move. “This has happened after decades of injustice with the Pahari community,” Lone said. “I find a sense of gratification and joy that this bill was presented, proposed and passed during my tenure as the minister for social welfare despite many impediments and hurdles.”

National Conference’s state secretary and former minister Syed Mushtaq Ahmed Shah Bukhari and senior leader Rachpal Singh also praised the development and claimed that the legislation was introduced during its regime. “National Conference has all along worked for the upliftment of the people, especially the marginalised segments of the society,” the party’s leaders said.