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J&K gets three more official languages – Kashmiri, Dogri & Hindi

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NC, Cong, BJP hail decision

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday 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 of Jammu and Kashmir.

Announcing the decision at a news briefing, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020 will be introduced in Parliament in the upcoming Monsoon Session.

The Bill received the Cabinet nod on Wednesday at a meeting presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The minister did not divulge further details saying the bill be debated in Parliament soon.

Senior BJP leader from Jammu and Union Minister Jitendra Singh said the government has accepted the long-pending demand of the region for the inclusion of Dogri, Hindi and Kashmiri as official languages in J&K.

“It is not only a fulfillment of a long-pending public demand of the region but also in keeping with the spirit of equality which was ushered in after August 05 last year,” he told reporters.

National Conference’s Jammu Provincial president Devender Singh Rana expressed happiness over the inclusion of the Dogri, but said all regional languages must be duly recognised and respected.

“I am very happy that my mother tongue Dogri is being included as an official language along with English, Urdu, Kashmiri and Hindi in Jammu and Kashmir. Dogri reflects the Dogra culture and heritage and so it should be put at a premium pedestal along with other languages of JK,” Rana told PTI.

“All spoken languages in JK including Gojri, Pahari, Sheena, Bhaderwahi, Galhyani, Balti, Bodhi, Punjabi and others must be respected and duly recognised to showcase and preserve the multicultural and multi-linguistic ethos of JK,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee Chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said, “While it is good that regional sentiments have been taken care of, the multiplicity of languages may have its own problems.

“There are other languages spoken by a large population in Jammu and Kashmir like Gojri, Pahari, Punjabi and Sheena and few others,” he said, demanding equal respect to all spoken languages in the union territory.

Sikh committee terms exclusion of Punjabi ‘anti-minority’ move

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,” he said.

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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