Sikh Organisation In J&K Criticises Delimitation Commission

All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee Chairman Jagmohan Singh Raina addresses media person in Srinagar | KO file photo by Abid Bhat

Srinagar- A Sikh organisation in Kashmir on Thursday criticised the Delimitation Commission for not providing any political representation to the community by way of reservation of assembly seats.

The All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) also appealed to the Members of Parliament to listen to their conscience and oppose the reservation for the members of Kashmiri Pandit community which is based on pure religious lines .

The delimitation commission has two important jobs — to give representation based on geography and population. It is mandatory and they cannot ignore that,” APSCC chairman Jagmohan Singh Raina told reporters here.

“But, we have not been given any representation. The forthcoming (assembly) elections will be meaningless if the Sikh community is not given any political representation, he said.

Raina said the delimitation commission bill, which has been presented in Parliament where it needs to be passed, proposes reservation for Kashmiri Pandits only as a minority, even as Sikhs also constitute a good population in Jammu and Kashmir.

How can they ignore that? The Members of Parliament need to see to it clearly as Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab are two border states which are sensitive and no population can be ignored from political representation, otherwise the consequences will be not be good for the nation, he said, demanding reservation for the community.

The APSCC chairman appealed to all the MPs to listen to their conscience and oppose the reservation for the members of Kashmiri Pandit community that is based on pure religious lines .

We met the Delimitation Commission headed by Justice (Retired) Ranjana Desai twice and projected the demands but the plea fell on deaf ears.

“We at APSCC had demanded reservation of some seats in Jammu as well as Kashmir divisions, but to our dismay and disappointment, no seat has been reserved for the Sikhs of Jammu and Kashmir, thus leaving the community members disenfranchised, he said.

Raina said there are about 10 constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir where the Sikhs form a major chunk of votes that can be a deciding factor for any candidate.

If the BJP government does not support us, how will Sikhs support it, he added.

He also appealed to the Sikhs living in the different parts of world to raise their voice against this injustice and maltreatment .

Raina said it is highly unfortunate that the voices of the community have not been heard by successive governments at the Centre as well as in the erstwhile state.

Political representation is of utmost importance and it needs to be given due consideration. Due to the misrepresentation of community in the political dispensation of Jammu and Kashmir, burning issues like minority status to Sikhs of J&K and lack of promotion of Punjabi language are as it is.

Even though J&K is a union territory, the National Minority Act has not been extended as yet since the same recognises Sikhs as religious minority, the APSCC chairman said.

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