Restore JK’s statehood before assembly polls: APSCC
Shiv Sena activists stages demo, demand restoration of statehood
Srinagar/Jammu: A Sikh organisation on Tuesday described the visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to Jammu and Kashmir as an initiation of the electoral process in the Union territory and demanded the restoration of its statehood before the conduct of the assembly elections. Meanwhile, Shiv Sena activists also staged a demonstration in Jammu demanding restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir.
In a statement, All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) chairman Jagmohan Singh Raina said assembly elections can wait in J&K.
“The restoration of statehood should be done at the earliest. The people of J&K are yearning for the restoration of statehood and it will be apt to make an announcement about the same at the earliest,” Raina said.
He urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take a lead in this regard.
“Addressing public rallies at Rajouri and Baramulla is a clear indication that the government of India wants to start the electoral process in J-K. The Union government also wants to highlight its working in Kashmir so as to spell out its agenda for the forthcoming assembly elections,” he said.
Issues like digitalisation, issuance of golden cards for availing free health services, free gas connection for BPL families and issuance of land passbooks to the land holders in J&K are likely to dominate the pre-election discourse in the Union territory, he said.
Raina said the packages announced from time to time by the Centre have led to division among the various sections of the society in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Gujjars have got political voice since a member of the community has been nominated to the Rajya Sabha while as Paharis have got four per cent reservation,” he said.
The APSCC chairman said Kashmiri Pandits got a number of packages in the past three decades with thousands of youths from the community getting adjusted in the government departments.
However, the Sikh minority community has got nothing with even centuries-old Punjabi language losing recognition in J&K, he said.
He appealed to the Union home minister to ensure equal distribution of benefits to all the communities so that justice is delivered.
Earlier a group of Shiv Sena activists staged a demonstration in support of their demand for restoration of statehood and extension of Article 371 of the constitution to Jammu and Kashmir.
The protest, led by the president of the J&K unit of Shiv Sena Manish Sahni near the party headquarters at Channi chowk here, was held when Union Home Minister Amit Shah is on a three-day visit to the Union Territory.
Carrying tricolour in their hands, the Shiv Sainiks raised slogans in support of special status under Article 371, restoration of statehood and safe environment for Hindus in Kashmir.
“With abrogating Article 370 on August 5, 2019 and bifurcating J&K into two UTs, the central government promised development, employment along with protection to our cultural identity and rights. None of the promises were fulfilled,” Sahni said.
He said they are on the roads to remind the home minister of the promises he made to the people of J&K on the floor of the house.
“For the last three years, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have not received any benefit for being a Union Territory,” he said, urging the government to fulfill its promise of development, peace and ample employment opportunities for the local youth.
The Shiv Sena leader said it was the right of the people of J&K to have certain privileges under Article 371 on the lines of the northeast and other border states of the country.
“We need protection of our rights over land and jobs besides our cultural identity,” he said.