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Kashmiri Sikhs want minority status, reservation in jobs and assembly

Last Updated on July 24, 2021 at 2:53 pm

Shatrugaon, a Sikh village in Kashmir has 1500 population of the minority community. The village is mostly surrounded by Muslim-majority villages and people residing in the village said that they have lived in peace and harmony since hundreds of years.

But they have never been noticed by the successive local as well as central governments.  The state and centre has been unkind to them, they claim. But suddenly Sikhs of Kashmir are in the notice of everyone, however for their pain.

Sikhs of Kashmir recently were surrounded by the talks of ‘love jihad’ with conversion of two girls from the community.

But a valley Sikh leader Jagmohan Singh Raina said that real issues and problems have been hidden behind the issue of Sikh conversion stories. He further added that the real concerns like minority status in J&K, reservation in jobs for their children, recognition of Punjabi language, and political representation are never talked about.

He further said that there is no issue of any ‘love jihad’ or forced conversions here. He said that there have been a few cases of women being forced to convert, “but that can happen anywhere and it is not that the Muslims are doing that intentionally to harm us because in most cases, these are love affairs”.

Surinder Singh, the pradhan of Shatrugaon and president of Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee in the area said that they have grudges with central government for ignoring Sikhs in the valley. He further said that they never had any issues towards Muslims but have always been asking government for political representation, reservation in government jobs but it is never answered. He further said that it is said that Sikh community in the valley is in spotlight and that too for wrong reasons.

Baldev Singh Raina, chairman of the All District Gurdwara Management Committee said that Kashmiri Sikhs have been demanding minority status and representation in the state assembly. Now they want at least two seats so that they have representatives in the government to talk about their issues.

Also the Sikh community is demanding for reservations and quota. The community feels that without any reservations or a quota in government jobs, like what Kashmiri Pandits have, the youngsters are finding it difficult to bag good jobs as a result they migrate.

Although the Sikhs in the Valley said that there are no “forced conversions”, they still demand an “anti-conversion law”. Manpreet Kaur having a B.Ed degree from Kashmir University said that Sikh women were also converting because of a lack of religious education and negligence of Punjabi language in the Valley as well no career opportunities. She further said that representation in the jobs can help stopping these conversions and believes that an anti-conversion law is needed.

Also Sikhs fear about that younger generation is getting away from their roots and losing their culture.