Chandigarh September 5 – Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal today urged the Lieutenant Governor of J and K to immediately restore to the Punjabi language its due status as an official language in the state.
Drawing the attention of the Lt Governor to “reports of the discriminatory exclusion of the Punjabi language as one of the official languages of the Jammu and Kashmir,” in a letter released here this afternoon, Mr Badal pointed out that “Punjabi is not only the mother tongue of a very significant part of the people of the state but it was also a recognised language duly certified in the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Stating that the SAD had always been in the forefront in the fight for justice for the mother tongue of crores of Punjabis, Mr Badal declared that the party “would not hesitate to do so in future also.”
The SAD president pointed out that the Punjabi language had profound religious, cultural and emotional implications for the Sikh community. “As such, the exclusion of Punjabi as official language in Jammu and Kashmir is bound to be seen as an anti-minority and is certain to be seen as an anti-Sikh step of the J and K administration”. Mr Badal also cautioned that “decisions such as these provide dangerous propaganda ammunition to those who are always looking for such opportunities to disturb peace and communal harmony in the country, especially in the sensitive border states of Punjab and J and K. “
The Akali stalwart described the move as “violative of the spirit that runs through every word of the Constitution of India which stands for unity in diversity”. He said the move would deliver “a severe blow to the idea of cooperative cultural and political federalism in the country.” He said the Founding Fathers of the Indian Constitution were inspired by a vision of India as a multi religious, multi cultural and multi lingual nation. “Respect for regional languages was seen as a significant tool for preserving and promoting this ideal.”
Pointing out that Punjabi language featured prominently among the officially recognised languages in the Constitution and was also the mother tongue of all Punjabis across the globe,” Mr Badal emphasized the special status of the language in Punjab and its neighbouring states such as Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan , Delhi and J and K.