Rehan Qayoom Mir
Srinagar, Sep 23: Feeling alienated, the All Party Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) on Saturday said that they have decided to stop casting ballots in favour of the political parties and instead will field a representative from their community with an aim to get the proper attention.
Addressing a press conference here, APSCC as per the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), stated that the Sikh community has played a critical role in developing the society here, but despite facing numerous challenges, the successive regimes have failed to give them deserving attention.
“Under the banner of the All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC), Sikh leadership has decided to launch a mass outreach program across Kashmir, starting from next week. The community members will visit every village in Kashmir to connect with the Sikh community,” APSCC said.
They added that, “neither the government of Jammu and Kashmir nor the authorities at the center have addressed the issues being faced by the Sikh community. For many decades, we have presented our demands to the authorities on behalf of the Sikh community, but no one listened to us. The authorities were reluctant to address our demands and pushed us to the wall.”
“With elections approaching, the APSCC has decided to change its strategy, as we will no longer support candidates from any political party. As we are going to carry out a mass outreach program across Jammu and Kashmir, we will identify potential candidates for local body elections,” they said.
“We will field candidates from within the community to ensure that the Sikh community is not treated as a mere vote bank. We believe our candidates have a fair chance of winning, and we will work to gain the support of the people, preserving the strong bond of Kashmiriyat forever,” APSCC said.
“The Delimitation Commission, initially established to ensure justice for various groups and communities, lost its significance when the LG administration of Jammu and Kashmir recommended the reservation of two seats for a particular community. For the past couple of decades, we have been advocating for the extension of the commission’s scope to include minorities in Jammu and Kashmir, but our pleas have been consistently ignored. The reservation for the minority community was never implemented, for reasons known only to the authorities at the center. The reintroduction of Punjabi language in schools and universities was also not taken seriously by the concerned department. Furthermore, no serious efforts have been made for the upkeep of Gurudwaras.”