SAD urges delimitation panel to reserve 5 seats for Sikhs in IIOJK

Srinagar, July 07 (KMS): Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a Sikh representative organization, has urged the Jammu and Kashmir Delimitation Commission to reserve five seats for members of the Sikh community in the Legislative Assembly.

According to South Asian Wire, senior party leader and former Member of Indian Parliament, Professor Prem Singh Chandumajra, handed over a letter written by SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal in this regard to the Delimitation Commission Chairman, Justice (retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai, in Srinagar on Tuesday.

The SAD has urged the Commission to “favourably” consider reserving three seats for the Sikh community in Jammu and two seats in Srinagar.

“The Commission assured to consider the demand sympathetically,” SAD said in a press release.

“Several times, including at the time of partition of the country, promises were made to the Sikh population of Jammu and Kashmir that counter checks would be created in the democratic process to ensure their social and economic well being. It was even proposed that a definite number of seats would be reserved for members of the Sikh community in the Jammu and Kashmir legislature on the pattern of that done for the Anglo Indian community in parliament and state assemblies. Sadly the then Congress government did not honour any of the promises made to the Sikh community post-partition,” said Sukhbir Badal in his communiqué to the Delimitation Commission.

Asking the Commission to correct this ‘historical wrong’, Badal said reservation of seats for Sikhs in IIOJK would ensure the “voice of the community was taken into consideration while making executive decisions.” He said Sikhs in IIOJK had been complaining for a long time that they were being left behind in the development process because there was no reservation for Sikhs in jobs in the territory “despite their minority status”. “All these issues, including reservations in educational institutions, can be taken up once the Sikhs have a say in governance,” the SAD President added.

Meanwhile, Chandumajra while apprising the Commission members about issues, said the Sikh community had a rich historical and cultural association with IIOJK. “Despite many upheavals, including the partition of the country and horrendous events like the mass killing of members of the Sikh community in Chittisinghpora, the community continues to remain an inseparable part of Jammu and Kashmir,” Chandumajra briefed the Commission.