In a press conference, Sikh United Front (SUF) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) raised serious concerns over omission of the local regional language in the gazetted and non-gazetted services. The members of the SUF accused bureaucracy of misleading lieutenant governor by keeping local regional languages—Punjabi, Gojri, Urdu out of the recruitment of gazetted and non-gazetted officers. S Sudershan Singh Wazir, president of SUF, lashed out at the administration for the omission of selective regional language as a “nefarious plan by certain elements in the bureaucracy […] to create wedge between the sections of society”.
Wazir also warned administration to desist playing with the sentiments of the unemployed/jobless youth who speak Punjabi, Gojri and Urdu. He further warned that the “unemployment rate among the youth has already touched alarming level, so it will not be in fitness of things to compel the unemployed youth to come on the streets”. Punjabi, Gojri and Urdu are widely spoken languages in Jammu and Kashmir with Urdu being the official language of the erstwhile state. Sikh community members at the press conference complained about the step-motherly treatment by the “vested interests” who are hell bent on creating a divide among the people.
Speaking to NewsClick, Wazir said, “They have constituted a committee in which representatives from selective languages are incorporated. They have not incorporated experts from Punjabi, Gojri and Urdu. So, we have raised this issue. We believe that governor is new and he is not aware of the nitty-gritty of this. We demand that these languages also be incorporated in the written test. When a Punjabi-speaking youth, Urdu-speaking and Gojri-speaking will not get a chance to get recruited, the unemployment rate will increase in these sections of society.”
Wazir also spoke of the “deep-rooted” conspiracy by the administration which is at the helm of affairs, and is guiding the new governor.
“It seems to be a deep-rooted conspiracy by the vested interest to tarnish the image of Lieutenant Governor G C Murmu as the order of constituting a committee is shown to have been issued on November 1, 2019 immediately after assuming the charge by the lieutenant governor. We have reliable reports that the order has been officially conveyed to the members of the committee on November 7, 2019 after backdating it to November 1, 2019,” Wazir said.
The members of the Sikh Community also requested probe into the matte. “How come only Kashmiri, Dogri and Pahari language experts have been nominated as the members of committee to prescribe the syllabus for the recruitment purpose and why the most important and widely spoken languages—Punjabi, Gojri, including the official Urdu have been omitted?” they questioned. The development is seen as an act of discrimination and the members said that a protest will be launched if the matter is not taken up.
“If they don’t do anything about this, we will have to launch a protest, but we will do so in a democratic manner,” said Wazir.