The community leaders claim that the neither central nor the state government has paid heed to their long pending demands of extension of Minority Community Act to the state and introduction of Punjabi language in the schools and colleges. “Our community is facing discrimination for no fault of others. We have decided to not participate in the Lok Sabha elections as a mark of protest. This our silent way of conveying that we are angry and have not been treated well,” Chairman of All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee, Jagmohan Singh Raina told. Raina alleged that subsequent governments have always made false promises and ditched the community. He informed that there is a population of 3.2lakh Sikhs in the state, with around 80,000 in Kashmir. The Sikh community has strong presence in Tral of southern Kashmir, Amira Kadal and Batamaloo of Srinagar and Baramullah of northern Kashmir. Raina claimed that some of the community members who have joined political parties or may participate in the campaigning are doing it at individual level and it is should not be seen as the decision of us as a community.
“We have no representation in any power structure. We were given some jobs under non migrant minority category, which was again taken away by a different community with the help of PDP government,” Manmeet Singh of United Sikh Forum. He complained that all the dispensations showed step motherly attitude towards the Sikh community. “We have not come from Bangladesh. We are state subjects. What is the benefit of participating in elections, when our issues are not addressed? Sikh youth in Valley is suffering because of the government,” Manmeet added. He alleged that the political parties use them for tokenism to portray plurality, but have never taken cognizance of our concerns. He claimed that they would soon address a press conference in this regard. A Sikh representative from Baramullah, who left People’s Democratic Party and recently joined National Conference, Janak Singh Sodhi stated that the leadership should take a unanimous decision if they want to stay away from elections. “If we boycott we will be tagged with Hurriyat. I know Mehbooba Mufti has wronged us not Farooq Abdullah. However, if community jointly decides to boycott, I will support them but not few individuals,”.