Congress member of the Rajya Sabha from Punjab and former state party president Partap Singh Bajwa on Wednesday demanded minority status for Sikhs and special status for Punjabi language in Jammu and Kashmir. He was participating in a special discussion on Kashmir in the Rajya Sabha. He reminded the House that the Sikhs did not migrate from Kashmir even after the Chatti Singhpura massacre in which 35 Sikhs were gunned down.
About 1.25 lakh members of the community were spread across 70 villages in the Valley while their population in Jammu region was about 2 lakh. Kashmir was once part of the Sikh empire of Maharaja Ranjit Singh for more than 40 years and purchased by the Dogra rulers after the first Anglo-Sikh war.
Bajwa said Punjabi was spoken by almost all Kashmiri leaders, including Dr Karan Singh, Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad. Stressing upon the strategic relationship of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, he said peace in Punjab was also subject to the situation in Kashmir as the terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase and Dinanagar police station last year were a fall-out of the disturbed situation in the Valley.
Talking about solution to the persisting turmoil, he said the only way out was the dialogue. The government must involve all stakeholders. He said all political parties were one on this issue.
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