SAD urges J&K Delimitation Commission to reserve 5 seats for Sikh community in J&K Assembly

CHANDIGARH: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Tuesday urged the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory Delimitation Commission to reserve five seats for members of the Sikh community in the union territory Legislative Assembly.
Senior SAD leader and former MP Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra handed over a letter written by Party President Sukhbir Singh Badal in this regard to Delimitation Commission Chairman Justice (retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai in Srinagar today.
The SAD has urged the Commission to favorably consider reserving three seats for the Sikh community in Jammu and two seats in Srinagar. The Commission assured to consider the demand sympathetically.
The SAD chief, in his communiqué to the Delimitation Commission, said several times, including at the time of partition of the country, promises were made to the Sikh population of J&K 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 J&K 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”.
Asking the Commission to right this historical wrong, Mr Badal said reservation of seats for Sikhs in the J&K UT would ensure the voice of the community was taken into consideration while making executive decisions.
He said Sikhs in J&K had been complaining since long that they were being left behind in the development process because there was no reservation for Sikhs in jobs in J&K despite their minority status. “All these issues, including reservations in educational institutions, can be taken up once the Sikhs have a say in governance”, he added in the communiqué to the Commission.
Meanwhile, Prof Chandumajra while apprising the Commission members about the entire issue said the Sikh community had a rich historical and cultural association with Jammu and Kashmir. He said J&K was at one time also part of the Sikh empire and a huge number of Sikhs have been residing in the State since the last more than two hundred years.
He said the Sikh community formed an important part of the composite culture of J&K with social and trade links stretching back hundreds of years. “Despite many upheavals, including the partition of the country and horrendous events like the mass killing of members of the Sikh community in Singhpora, the community continues to remain an inseparable part of J&K”, Prof Chandumajra briefed the Commission.
The SAD delegation informed the Commission that it had held discussions with the Sikh community of J&K and that the community also wanted a say in governance. It told the Commission that more than 35,000 Sikhs had been killed when Pakistan backed intruders had tried to take over the Kashmir valley in 1947. It also apprised the Commission that it managed 135 gurdwaras in the union territory. (Agency)