The Sikh Community of Kashmir has threatened that they won’t participate in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections due to the government’s apathy towards the minority community, reported the Economic Times.
The report quoting community leaders claim that neither Government of India nor the state government has paid heed to their long pending demands of extension of Minority Community Act to the state and introduction of Punjabi language in the schools and colleges.
Chairman of All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee Jagmohan Singh Raina told ET that the community is facing discrimination for no fault of others. “We have decided to not participate in the Lok Sabha elections as a mark of protest. This our silent way of conveying that we are angry and have not been treated well,” he said.
Raina alleged that subsequent governments have always made false promises and ditched the community. He informed that there is a population of 3.2 lakh Sikhs in the state, with around 80,000 in Kashmir alone.
“We have no representation in any power structure. We were given some jobs under non migrant minority category, which was again taken away by a different community with the help of PDP government,” Manmeet Singh of United Sikh Forum told ET.
“We have not come from Bangladesh. We are state subjects. What is the benefit of participating in elections, when our issues are not addressed? Sikh youth in Valley is suffering because of the government,” Manmeet added.
He alleged that the political parties use them for tokenism to portray plurality, but have never taken cognizance of our concerns. He claimed that they would soon address a press conference in this regard.
A Sikh representative from Baramullah, who left People’s Democratic Party and recently joined National Conference, Janak Singh Sodhi stated that the leadership should take a unanimous decision if they want to stay away from elections.
“If we boycott we will be tagged with Hurriyat. I know Mehbooba Mufti has wronged us not Farooq Abdullah. However, if community jointly decides to boycott, I will support them but not few individuals,” Sodhi told ET.
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