Sikhs Demand Reservation of 4 Seats in J&K Assembly
“Sikhs are openly discriminated in various government orders and packages while other minorities are getting special exclusive and secret packages of jobs.”
SRINAGAR — All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) on Wednesday alleged that the successive governments in Jammu and Kashmir have neglected the community and have been discriminated against.
Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, the chairman of APSCC, Jagmohan Singh Raina, said that despite meeting the Delimitation Commission headed by Justice (Retired) Ranjana Desai, no reservation has been earmarked for the Sikhs even though they demanded it in the meeting and it was also mentioned in the memorandum submitted to the commission. Raina said that the cold-shouldered attitude of the commission means that the basic rights of Jammu and Kashmir will not be extended to the Sikh community in the forthcoming delimitation of assembly segments.
Reiterating the demand of reservation of four seats for the Sikhs in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly, Raina said all governments of Jammu & Kashmir in the past have deliberately ignored the basic issues of the Sikh community in the garb of turmoil. “The issues have piled up. We fail to understand the measuring rod used by the people at the helm to measure or understand the problems of Sikhs of Jammu & Kashmir. We have been neglected and discriminated all along and even in the new set up of Union Territory.”
He said the government is not conducting elections of Gurudwara Parbhandak Committees even though they are due to be conducted under the J&K Gurudwara Endowment Act 1973 by Financial Commissioner (Revenue). Although DDC elections and polls for local bodies have been held over the past three years, no step is being taken to hold elections of Gurudwara Parbhandak Committees. “Since elections have not been held, mismanagement and financial irregularities have come up in many districts with the same leading to litigation. By delaying elections of Gurudwara Parbhandak Committees Sikh community in Jammu & Kashmir feels bad about the government conduct towards them.”
The APSCC demanded that the government should come forward and help the community in consolidating the property of the community attached with various Gurudwaras. “Many vested interests have developed among influential people from within the community and outside the community to grab the property of Sikh community in both the provinces of Jammu and Kashmir.”
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He said innocent members of the community are being exploited by influential ones while wielding influence so that their crimes are shielded and they are not exposed. The government should ask all Deputy Commissioners of Jammu & Kashmir to take stock of these nefarious designs to safeguard the property of the Sikh community attached with various Gurudwaras, he said.
APSCC chairman said that the Prime Minister of India has been praising the contribution of Sikhs in the country but at the same time he never gave an opportunity to Sikhs of Jammu & Kashmir to understand the issues faced by the Sikh minority in Jammu & Kashmir. “Sikhs are openly discriminated in various government orders and packages while other minorities are getting special exclusive and secret packages of jobs for their youth. It seems that the Prime Minister’s office is ignorant of such attitude of the government. I impress upon the government to shed away this irresponsible behaviour of treating the Sikh minority as second-class citizens.”
Raina said that in meetings with APSCC, Jammu & Kashmir Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha realized the discrimination being meted out to the Sikh community in the past and assured with a commitment to sort out the Punjabi language issue that arose after the abrogation of Article 370. “The LG acknowledged that the unemployed youth of Sikh minority has suffered and they did not get their share in the last package announced for non-migrant minorities with only Kashmiri Pandits getting the benefits under the package and other minorities including Hindus and Sikhs being left out of the same.”
He alleged that the agencies running the affairs of Jammu & Kashmir don’t want to treat every citizen equally and at the same time they seem to be hell-bent to carry out discrimination against the Sikhs. “The APSCC will continue to raise the voice of the community at all forums and no stone will be left unturned in ensuring that justice is done to the Sikhs of Jammu & Kashmir.”
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