APSCC flays J&K govt, demands minority status for Sikhs

JAMMU: A Sikh organization on Thursday expressed concern over “non-fulfillment” of demands that were projected by the community with the present coalition dispensation of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The National Minority Act has been quite clear with regard to classification of minorities in India. Given this fact minorities such as Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians need to be given their due share in J and K. Since Sikhs fall within the purview of National Minority Act they should be recognized as a minority community in J and K as well,” APSCC said in a statement.
“The successive state governments have given a deaf ear to the genuine demand of Sikhs and as such our community is a not a minority in the state. The state government has been maintaining that central laws cannot be extended to JK,” APSCC chairman, Jagmohan Singh Raina said.
He said that PDP had in the election manifesto for 2014 assembly elections promised that Sikhs would be given the status of minority in J and K. “However, despite being in the power for the past three years or so the party has not taken any step in this regard,” he said. “The party has in fact backtracked from its promise. The state government has made it clear that it is not ready to grant minority status to Sikhs. There are in fact some people in the government who want to dilute the National Minority Act.” “Today, I am raising question to PDP chief and Chief minister of the state Mehbooba Mufti, to answer publicly that why the government headed by Mehbooba Mufti has filed affidavit in a Supreme Court case against the extension of National Commission of Minority Act to J and K State when this ruling party had clearly promised its extension in their election manifesto during the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections,” he said.
He further added that former chairmen of National Commission for Minorities, Wajahat Habibullah and Tarlochan Singh Dutt have time and again asked the state government to extend the National Minority Act to the state. “However, this too has not moved the state government and as such Sikhs are yet to be classified as a minority in J and K,” he said.
“APSCC would like the Supreme Court to be more proactive in this whole issue so that pressure is built upon the state government, and National Minority Act is extended to the state. Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) that is in coalition with PDP in J and K should also clear the air since the party leaders have said that they were not taken in confidence while the affidavit was filed in Supreme Court with regard to classification of minorities in the state,” reads a statement.