Srinagar: Recommendations of National Commission for Minorities have not been implemented in Jammu & Kashmir. As such the Sikh community is yet to be granted the status of minority community in the state. This is despite the fact that Sikhs are a minority across the country. The present PDP-BJP government in the state has not taken any step that would give an impression that they are serious in classifying Sikh community as minority.
Same was true with the previous state government that comprised of National Conference and Congress. All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC), an umbrella organization of various Sikh groups in the state has been meeting people at helm so that the minority status is given to the community. However, the National Minority Act drafted by National Commission for Minorities has not been extended to Sikhs of Jammu & Kashmir. Besides this, the committee carried out many agitation programmes in support of their demand.
“For years now we have been carrying out a struggle for getting the minority status, but success has so far eluded us. One fails to understand why we are being denied the minority status despite the fact that same has been recommended under National Minority Act across the country,” says Jagmohan Singh Raina, Chairman APSCC. Raina said that they met Home Minister, Rajnath Singh and apprised him of the problems being faced by Sikhs of the state especially due to the failure in giving minority status to them.
He said that what they got was mere assurance with no practical change taking place on the ground. “In the past we met former Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh twice and then Home Minister, P Chidambaram, but here too we were left dejected since the demand was not met during the rule of Congress led United Progressive Alliance at the centre. Our meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee also failed to yield any result and we have been at the receiving end all the time,” said APSCC Chairman.
The Sikhs in Kashmir have also been demanding for compensating the members of the community who suffered horticultural and agricultural losses during the past 25 years or so. As militancy broke out in 1990 thousands of Sikh families migrated from rural areas and settled in Srinagar, while leaving behind their paddy fields and orchards. “Out of the total population of 80, 000 in Kashmir valley, 70 percent Sikhs have migrated from rural areas and are living in the different areas of Srinagar city. The exodus has taken place from Central and North Kashmir districts. People have migrated from Budgam, Baramulla and Kupwara districts while leaving behind their assets,” said Mandeep Singh, a community member.
Jammu & Kashmir has a total Sikh population of 2, 70,000 with 80, 000 members of the community putting up in the Kashmir valley. Like members of the other communities some of the Sikh families also migrated from Kashmir once the militancy broke out. At Jammu, 1749 Sikh families are registered with the office of Relief Commissioner, but still then there are many families that are yet to be registered. There are thousands of Sikh families that shuttle between Srinagar and Jammu during the course of year.
For more news updates Follow and Like us on Facebook