The All Party Sikh Coordination Committee asks members of the Sikh community to abstain from Jammu and Kashmir’s delimitation exercise to redraw the constituencies in the Union Territory

Published : February 24, 2021 18:24 IST

Jagmohan Singh Raina (second from right), chairman, APSCC, a file photograph. Photo: NISSAR AHMAD

In a major development, the All Party Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC), a prominent Sikh body in Jammu and Kashmir, has asked members of the Sikh community to stay away from the ongoing delimitation exercise to expand the number of seats of the Legislative Assembly.

The erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir had 87 seats in the Legislative Assembly. Currently, a delimitation exercise is going on to redraw the constituencies.

The APSCC announced on February 23 that it has formally asked Sikh members of the Delimitation Commission to not participate any further in the exercise. It cited the lack of reservation for minorities in the Assembly as the reason for its call.

“Since no reservation has been kept or announced for minorities of the UT, the members of the Sikh community will not participate in any delimitation exercise,” announced Jagmohan Singh Raina, APSCC chairman, in a statement.

He alleged that “people at the helm” were indifferent to issues faced by the minorities in Jammu and Kashmir. This is being seen as a covert potshot at the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha’s administration.

“I appeal to the community members to remain aloof from any process of delimitation of constituencies. They should take part in the process only when some seats are reserved for minorities in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly. The Central government and Delimitation Commission should take the minorities into confidence, otherwise the exercise would be meaningless,” he said.

Raina pointed out that there were several constituencies in both Kashmir and Jammu divisions with sizable Sikh voters and hence the demand for reservation was a valid one. He said that the Sikhs of Jammu and Kashmir have been time and again disappointed by the political parties on the question of reservation.

“In the past we have been demanding reservation in Assembly segments, but the demand was never considered by political parties and the Delimitation Commission. The present Delimitation Commission initiated by the Ministry of Home Affairs has been tasked to set up a new State of Jammu and Kashmir after abrogation of Article 370,” said Raina.

He pointed out that Sikhs held the key to elections in constituencies such as Tral, Baramulla and Amira Kadal in Kashmir and Gandhi Nagar, Nowshera, R.S. Pura and Samba in Jammu division.

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