Delimitation Exercise: Sikh Body Seeks Reservation In 8 Assembly Seats

APSCC Chairman Jagmohan Singh Raina addresses media persons in Srinagar | KO file photo by Abid Bhat

Srinagar- Expressing its opposition to the draft proposal of the Delimitation Commission, the All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee on Thursday demanded that at least eight seats should be reserved in Jammu and Kashmir assembly for the Sikh community.

"If 16 seats can be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Jammu & Kashmir assembly, why no seat can be reserved for the Sikhs of the Union Territory?" APSCC Chairman Jagmohan Singh Raina said in a statement here.

Raina claimed that at least eight seats can be reserved for the Sikh community.

There are many Sikh dominated constituencies across the length and breadth of Jammu & Kashmir. These include Batmaloo, Baramulla and Tral in Kashmir region and Gandhi Nagar, R S Pura, Suchetgarh, Nowshera and Vijaypur in Jammu region. These seats ought to be reserved for Sikhs so that they could feel that they have been empowered in the right context, he said.

The APSCC chairman said that the Delimitation Commission is working on the agenda set out by the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP).

Earlier, the National Conference redrew the constituencies according to its own vote bank, he charged.

Since the Delimitation Commission is headed by a former judge of Supreme Court we had high hopes that this time around justice would be done. No reservation means that the people at helm want that no chance is given to the community members to choose their own representative. The traditional political parties are playing politics according to their vested interests and they don't care for people in general and the community members in particular, said Raina.

The APSCC chairman said that Sikh politicians like Praduman Singh Azad, H S Bali, Surinder Singh and Harbans Singh Azad won assembly elections from Gandhi Nagar, Tangmarg and Baramulla in the past.

He said it is the responsibility of the Commission to satiate the feelings and aspirations of all communities including Sikhs adding that justice continues to be denied to the community members.

Delimitation Commission should not take dictations from any government. Scores of delegations met the Delimitation Commission members at Kashmir and Jammu and submitted written documents seeking redress for various constituencies and communities. The Commission seems to have dumped them in the dust-bin, he said.

The APSCC Chairman said that the Delimitation Commission can still undo the wrongs if it listens to the genuine demands of members of the different communities especially Sikhs.

He said that it is high time that necessary corrections are made in the draft report so that the whole exercise is meaningful.

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