Sikh groups in Jammu and Kashmir are miffed over the exclusion of Punjabi from the J&K Official Languages Bill and have threatened to launch an agitation if the government does not review its “discriminatory move” against the minority community.
Condemning the exclusion of Punjabi language from the Bill, Sikh groups held protests to give vent their anger against the “total neglect” of Punjabi language in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Till 1981, Punjabi language was compulsory subject like Urdu in J&K and now its total neglect is another assault on the identity of Sikh community in J&K and also against the spirit of the Modi government’s slogan ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’,” TS Wazir, chairman of the J&K Gurdwara Parbandhak Board said while addressing the protestors.
Wazir said that Punjabi language was one of the vital languages of the Union Territory and was well recognised in the Constitution of J&K. He demanded immediate inclusion of Punjabi as the official language of J&K.
The protestors comprised representatives from various Sikh organisations, including Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, Shiromani Akali Dal, Sikh Welfare Front, Sikh Intellectual Circle J&K, International Sikh Federation, Sikh Students Federation and Sikh Nojwan Sabha.
On Wednesday, the All-Party Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) had flayed the Centre over the exclusion of Punjabi from the J&K Official Languages Bill and described it as “anti-minority”.
In a major move after the Centre’s decision to do away with special provisions under Article 370 of the Constitution and re-organising the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir into two UTs, the government on Wednesday approved a draft legislation to make Urdu, Kashmiri, Dogri, Hindi and English official languages of J&K.
The Centre has claimed that the decision had been taken on public demand and the Bill was expected to be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session, slated to begin from September 14.