Sikhs seek IDC, probe in Chattisinghpora massacre

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 8/12/2012 12:32:37 AM

SRINAGAR, AUG 11: Calling themselves as “main sufferers” of the conflict, Sikhs of the Valley today demanded that they be treated at par with Kashmiri pandits and issuance of internal displacement certificate (IDC) to them.
“We are shocked at the attitude of Central and the State Governments’. They have given a special IDC within Kashmir Valley to the preferred favourite minority even though the Sikhs are worst sufferers,” All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) president, Jagmohan Singh Raina, said addressing press conference here.
“Since 1947 if we compare sacrifices of Sikhs with migrants, migrants stand nowhere. But migrants are given all packages in terms of employment, economical relief, free education at under graduate and post graduate level, backward and migrant certificates at the cost of Sikhs. Sikhs from Baramulla, Budgam, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, and Poonch were uprooted but they worked hard, rebuilt their houses but their sacrifices were ignored,” Raina said.
He said 23-years of turmoil have closed down economical and social conditions of Sikhs in rural areas of Kashmir. “It is a matter of shame for both central and State Government which have ignored the issue over the years.”
The majority community, he said, has largely suffered with thousands of them killed, their houses gutted, women subjected to rape, hundreds missing and countless in jails. “Despite all this Government has no concrete plan for permanent peace plan, which is important for development of Sikh minority living in Kashmir,” Raina said.
“Sikhs who have always played a key role in the development of the State have been crushed by the policies of the government. Government resorted to delaying tactics which always proved anti-Sikh. For migrants the decision was passed in the cabinet without any delay.”
Raina also raised issue of Chittisingpura massacre and an impartial probe.
“It has been established by investigating agencies that Pathribal encounter was fake. Since, both Chittisingpura and Pathribal cases are inter-connected, Government should initiate a fresh probe into the massacre without maintaining the criminal silence over it,” Raina said.
At least 35 Sikhs including children were killed in Chittisingpura village in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district by unidentified gunmen, dressed in army fatigues, on the evening of March 20, 2000.
Gunmen ordered all of the Sikh men and boys to assemble at the village gurdwara, and systematically shot and killed them. The massacre took place on the eve of the then US President Bill Clinton's visit to the Subcontinent.
Five days after the massacre, Army killed seven men in Pathribal village of Anantnag district, claiming that the victims were the "foreign militants" responsible for the Sikh massacre.
However, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which was investigating the Pathribal killing, told the Supreme Court of India in March this year that the Pathribal encounter was fake and “cold-blooded murders.”
Raina demanded reservation for unemployed Sikh youths in government jobs and appointment of Punjabi teachers in schools and other educational institutions in the state, particularly in the Kashmir Valley, where at least 96 posts of Punjabi teachers were lying vacant for past many years.
He alleged that Punjabi language was deliberately being ignored by the government, forcing the Sikh youths to go outside the state for higher education.
“Sikhs being a microscopic community in the State have to fight for minority status despite the fact that they are considered as minority in India under Minority Act of Minority Commission of India 2C of 1992, along with other communities including Muslims, Buddhists and Christians,” he said.
APSCC is organizing a national level Ethnic Sikh Conference on August 17 and 18, 2012 to present their view. The Ethnic Sikh Conference, according Raina, will be attended by prominent Sikh leaders and intellectuals from the State and parliament members including Pratap Singh Bajwa, Sukhdev Singh Dendisa, Sikh human right activist, leaders from All India Sikh Students Federations (AISSF) and other Sikh parties within the State and outside.

 

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