Exclusion of Punjabi from Official Languages Bill sheer injustice: APSCC

All Party Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) on Saturday threatened to launch an agitation if government of India does not review its “discriminatory move” and include Punjabi in the J&K Official Languages Bill.

Addressing a press conference here, Chairman APSCC, Jagmohan Singh Raina said the Centre has excluded Punjabi in Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill-2020. As per the Bill, English, Urdu, Hindi, Kashmiri and Dogri have been given the status of official languages for J&K.

“The exclusion of Punjabi language is sheer injustice with us. Punjabi language was the recognized language in erstwhile constitution of J&K. The fact is that Punjabi is being taught in Schools, Colleges and Universities across J&K. J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages has a full-fledged Punjabi section with the Academy publishing the magazine in this language as well,” Raina said.

He saod religious scriptures, Sikh history and other relevant literature were also written in Punjabi. “Children are also learning Punjabi from primary classes. How will schools teach Punjabi and how will students opt for the language when it has been derecognized?” he questioned.

He said over the years, thousands of books in Punjabi have been published in J&K and many more are in the process of getting published. He said many Muslim and Hindu scholars have over the years rendered appreciable service towards promotion of the language.

“Many prolific writers of Punjabi have come up from these communities and they have compiled numerous books that have been published as well,” he said.

He said Sikh community urges upon government of India to roll back its decision and include Punjabi as one of the official languages of J&K.

“We don’t have any grudge against any language but at the same time we will not allow discrimination with Punjabi. It is high time that Union government listens to heart beat of millions of fans of Punjabi language and recognizes Punjabi as one of the official languages of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

He said in case the corrective measures were not taken, people especially those belonging to Sikh community would start an agitation unless their demands were met.

The APSCC also expressed resentment over the silence of regional political parties and political leadership on the matter.