A delegation of Sikh leaders on Sunday met Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and demanded minority status for the Sikhs in the state for their socio-economic upliftment.
“A delegation of Sikh leaders met the Chief Minister and expressed concern over the discrimination and negligence of various governments in resolving the issues faced by the community ever since the turmoil erupted in the state,” Chairman, All Parties Sikh Coordination Community (APSCC), Jagmohan Singh Raina, who led the delegation, said in a statement in Kashmir.
He said the major demand of the delegation was to ask for minority status for the Sikh community for their socio-economic upliftment.
Raina said the provision of National Commission of Minority Act is yet to be implemented in the state, much to the disappointment of the community members.
“Sikhs being a microscopic community in Jammu and Kashmir have to fight for their minority status despite the fact that they are considered as a minority in India under the Minority Act of National Minority Commission of India 2C of 1992 along with other communities, including Muslims, Buddhists and Christians,” he said.
The APSCC chairman said during the campaign for the 2014 assembly elections, PDP had promised to grant the minority status to Sikhs as per the guidelines of the National Commission for Minorities Act.
“Granting of Minorities Act was itself part of the election manifesto of the PDP,” he said, adding they reminded the Chief Minister of the same.
“After the elections, Sikhs were optimistic that their long pending problems would be solved but there has been only disappointment so far. However, Chief Minister’s assurance today generated another hope,” he said.
He said the Sikh community assured the chief minister for the maintenance of peaceful relations with the Muslims of the state.
“Our stand is clear that we have and always will live in peace and harmony with the Muslim brothers in state,” he said.
The delegation also raised other pending demands of Sikhs, including restoring of teaching-staff for Punjabi language in colleges and schools, issuing of the state subject certificate and other certificates through central authority or Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Office on the pattern of issuing of state subject certificates by Migrant Commissioner.
The delegation comprised of prominent Sikh leaders, including Sahitya Academy awardee Paramjit Singh Bali (Kanwal Kashmiri), Joginder Singh Shan (PDP leader and President, Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee), Ajit Singh Mastana, Sant Singh, Gurdyal Singh among others.