Srinagar: All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) Chairman Jagmohan Singh Raina on Thursday expressed displeasure over the Delimitation Commission not proposing reserving seats in J&K assembly for Sikhs as it did for Kashmiri Pandits and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Addressing a press conference here, Raina appealed the members of Parliament (MPs) to raise their voice against injustice with Sikhs when the Delimitation Commission report is presented in the Parliament for discussion.
He also demanded a probe to find out who influenced the Delimitation Commission not to reserve assembly seats for Sikhs.
“APSCC met the Delimitation Commission headed by Justice(Retd) Ranjana Desai twice and projected the demands but the plea were ignored. We at APSCC had demanded reservation of some seats in Jammu as well as Kashmir division, but to our dismay and disappointment no seat has been reserved for the Sikhs of Jammu and Kashmir, thus leaving the community members as disenfranchised,”he said.
Raina added that Sikhs have a sizable population of 3.50 lakhs in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
“According to the 2011 Census, the population is 80,000 in Kashmir valley while in Jammu division the population of the community is 2,70,000. This constitutes two percent of the total population of Jammu and Kashmir. The Sikh population of Kashmir is living in far flung areas and is scattered in 127 villages of eight districts of the valley,” he said.
APSCC stated that the Sikh community members hold sway in some of the assembly constituencies and in these assembly segments the Sikh voters decide the fate of contesting candidates.
“In the Jammu district there are 43,000 Sikh voters followed by R S Pura 35,000, Samba 16,000, Baramulla 14,770, Srinagar 12,200, Rajouri 12,000 and Tral in Pulwama district 9,440. In most of these assembly constituencies Sikh voters play an important role in sealing the fate of the contestants,” he said.
Raina added that Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir face economical and social problems and also donot have any representation in the legislature. “It is highly unfortunate that the voices of community have not been heard by successive governments at the Centre and the erstwhile state.
Political representation is of utmost importance and it needs to be given due consideration. Due to the misrepresentation of community in the political dispensation of Jammu and Kashmir burning issues like minority status to Sikhs of Jammu and Kashmir and lack of promotion of Punjabi language are as it is. Even though Jammu and Kashmir is a Union Territory the National Minority Act has not been extended as yet since the same recognizes Sikhs as religious minority,” he said.