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Exclusion of Punjabi from J&K languages bill ‘anti-minority’ move: Sikh committee

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Srinagar: The All Party Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) on Wednesday flayed the Centre over the exclusion of Punjabi from the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, describing the move as ‘anti-minority’.

The reaction came hours after the Union cabinet approved a bill, under which Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi, apart from the existing Urdu and English, will be the official languages in the Union territory.

“Exclusion of Punjabi from the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill 2020 is an anti-minority move,” APSCC chairman Jagmohan Singh Raina said in a statement.

Raina said Punjabi was a part and parcel of the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir before the abrogation of Article 370 provisions. “Punjabi was a recognised language duly certified by the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.”

The Sikh leader said the move had “badly bruised the sentiments of the minorities, more so those belonging to the Sikh community”. He added that Punjabi was a popular language in Jammu and Kashmir spoken by lakhs of people.

“By excluding the Punjabi language, the Government of India has taken an extreme step that is bound to cause resentment among the minorities in Jammu and Kashmir. The move is anti-minority and it is natural that people would react sharply to the same,” he warned.

Raina demanded that an amendment should be made in the bill and Punjabi should be included in it.

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