Majid Kapra

Sikhs demand revocation of SRO 425 favouring Pandits

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Srinagar, Nov 12: People from Sikh community on Monday held sit-in protest at Pratap Park here against what they termed was step-motherly treatment being meted out to them by State and the Central governments.

“Aren’t we sons of this soil? Aren’t we state subjects of Jammu and Kashmir? Sikh community has been struggling for their rights as we have been ignored by successive regimes by giving preference to the Kashmiri Pandits,” protesting Sikhs said amid slogans.

The protesters alleged that the government ignored Sikhs and Muslims and made the scheme applicable exclusively for the migrant Pandits only under SRO 425.

“Under SRO 425 anyone who has migrated from Kashmir valley is entitled for job under Prime Minister Special Employment Package 2009.  A major amendment has been done in the said SRO by replacing word ‘minority’ with Kashmiri migrant Pandits. Isn’t this injustice with us?” asked Jagmohan Singh Raina, chairman All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC).

He said that the Centre extended this scheme to Kashmir in 2009 but the State government last year in October amended the basic SRO 412 with 425 under which only Kashmiri Pandits can apply for jobs under Prime Minister’s Special Employment Package 2009.

Raina said such step-motherly treatment with Sikhs will not be tolerated at all. He said the government, keeping in view the sensitivity of the issue, must cancel the amendment in basic SRO.

“We are tolerant people, but I would like to warn the government to not test our patience anymore. We do not nurse grudge with any particular community, but we want our rights,” he added.

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