The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has urged the Jammu and Kashmir Delimitation Commission to reserve five seats for members of the Sikh community in the Legislative Assembly.
Senior party leader and former MP Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra handed over a letter written by SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal in this regard to 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 an official 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 communique to the Delimitation Commission.
Asking the Commission to right this ‘historical wrong’, Badal said reservation of seats for Sikhs in the Jammu and Kashmir would ensure the “voice of the community was taken into consideration while making executive decisions.”
He said Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir 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 Jammu and Kashmir “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 Jammu and Kashmir.
“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 Jammu and Kashmir,” Chandumajra briefed the Commission.
As per the release, the SAD delegation informed the Commission that it had held discussions with the Sikh community of Jammu and Kashmir and that the community also wanted a say in governance.