Delhi, September 16, 2020: Partap Singh Bajwa, Member of Parliament representing the State of Punjab in the Rajya Sabha, raised the issue during the Zero Hour today, of the exclusion of Punjabi as an official language in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Government of India on September 2nd, 2020 announced its approval of the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020, which would
recognise Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi as official languages of the Union Territory. The MP raised the issue highlighting the significant number of
speakers of the Punjabi language present in the Union Territory.
Moreover, the MP also pointed out that Schedule 6 of the Constitution of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir recognised eight languages as
regional languages of the State, including Punjabi.
Further to raising this matter in the House, Mr. Bajwa has also sent a letter to the Prime Minister requesting the same. In the letter, the MP highlights
the long historical connection between Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.
Starting from 1808, when Jammu was brought as a province under control of the Sikh Empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Mr. Bajwa underscores how the Sikh Empire slowly brought Kashmir under its governance in 1819 and Ladakh in 1834.
The letter also mentions the role Maharaja Ranjit Singh played in promoting Gulab Singh Jamwal, to the role of Governor of the Jammu Province.
Gulab Singh Jamwal in 1846 became the first ruler of the erstwhile Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir. The MP also underlined the role of Punjabi as a language that connects people of different faiths both in India and around the world. Given the above facts, the MP requested the Government of India on the floor of the House and through his letter to the Prime Minister to reconsider this Bill.