Sikh Body threatens agitation over PDP’s ‘failure’ to fulfill promises

Safeena Wani

SRINAGAR: Castigating the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for not fulfilling the promises made during assembly elections, the All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) on Thursday threatened a state-wide agitation against the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led government.
“As part of our agitation program, we will carry out Dharna in Srinagar, Jammu and other districts of the state and also outside the residences of the legislators of the PDP who won the 2014 assembly elections due to votes of the Sikh community,” the APSCC chairman, Jagmohan Singh Raina, said during a press conference in Srinagar.
Raina said they (PDP) had included ‘Sikh Welfare’ in its election manifesto and vowed to solve their issues.
The APSCC chairman said: “We had great expectations from the Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and expected that his government would extend the ‘Minority Act’ status to the Sikhs of the state. This would have been in tune with the recommendations of the National Commission for Minority Act that has already classified Sikhs as minority in India. We had put a deadline of 20 days to government in this regard which already crossed. Like previous one, this government too made us to suffer.”
“The former Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh had recommended to the then state government for extension of National Minority Act to the state, but there was no response from the JK government,” he said.
Raina expressed surprise that the Central government has declared Kashmiri Pandits as minority people and made reservation schemes for them.
“In India, only Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and Christians constitute minorities. There are no Pandits in that category. So, the schemes announced for them give an impression that some secret agenda is being pursued by the Central government,” he said and demanded an enquiry into the matter.
Raina said besides the extension of Minority Act, the Sikh body has been raising issues like filling up of vacant posts of Punjabi teachers and lecturers in the schools and colleges across the state. “At the same time, there is a dire need of starting the Punjabi department at the University of Kashmir.”
He expressed regret that Sikhs are not being represented in the state legislature and said the regional parties have “utterly failed” in giving due political representation to Sikhs in J&K. “Even the few employment opportunities available to our youth have made them feel frustrated.”
“It is important that energies of the youth are channelized in the right direction and they become assets in the real sense which would ensure that Sikh youth play their role in the overall progress and development of the state,” the APSCC chairman added.