Sikh body stages sit-in, seeks job reservation for community

All Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (ASGMC) Wednesday staged a sit-in against the government accusing it of neglecting the community in Kashmir.

The ASGMC members wearing facemasks and maintaining social distancing assembled at Gurduwara Shaheed Bunga, Barzulla premises here. The protestors held placards reading “We want justice; reservation of Kashmiri Sikhs in jobs; we also belong to J&K; non-migration benefits for Kashmiri Sikh; include Punjabi language in official languages list of J&K.”

ASGMC chairman Sardar Baldev Singh said that a meeting of all district Gurudwara Prabhandak Committees was held in which all the Presidents and elites of the society unanimously discussed the discrimination being meted out to Kashmiri Sikhs. Singh said that in spite of giving “many sacrifices” for Kashmir “the Sikhs are neglected time and again. This is first time in 70 years that no Sikh has been taken as member of Public Service Commission.”

He said that Punjabi language which was the official language of J&K guaranteed under Article 146 of the erstwhile J&K constitution has been removed even though former Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Kavinder Gupta and other leaders had assured that it will not be removed.  “Government has been adopting delaying tactics in issuing the clear cut orders regarding the coverage of Sikhs under Pahari speaking category and Sikhs have been deprived of the certificates on one pretext or other,” he said.

“Sikhs of Kashmir were very hopeful that their long pending demand of minority status will be granted to them but the government of India miserably failed to implement it,” he said, adding, “it seems they are hell-bent on snatching some of the benefits from this community as already has been done in case of Punjabi as official language of J&K.”

He demanded that out of the job quota given to migrant Pandits and Hindus (non-migrants), 50 percent should be reserved for Sikhs of Kashmir who have suffered a lot due to “internal displacement”. “If our demands are not considered, we will be left with no option but to come out on roads and for any untoward incident the government of India and the administration of J&K will be responsible,” he said.

The protestors also expressed resentment over non-inclusion of Kashmiri Sikhs in the package of All India Council for Technical Education in which concession for the wards of the Kashmiri Migrants and Kashmiri Hindu families (non-migrants) living in Kashmir was sanctioned by Ministry of Education, government of India in consultation with ministry of Home Affairs. Among others who were part of protests include: S Santpal Singh President DGPC Budgam), Dr Tara Singh President DGPC Baramulla, S Buda Singh President DGPC Srinagar, Dr Ravi Singh President DGPC Pulwama, S Inderjit Singh President DGPC Anantnag, S Bupinder Singh President DGPC Kupwara.