While observing the 41st anniversary of the formation of the Punjab, Sikh political party Dal Khalsa today sounded the alarm bells on the issue of demographic change in Punjab due to heavy influx of the migrant population into the state.
Speaking at a rally held at Amebdkar Chowk here on second day of its two-day Punjab Jagao March today , party leader Harcharnjit Singh Dhami said that Dal Khalsa perceived that an Assam-like serious foreigners issue was going to quickly emerge on the map of Punjab . ” All political parties, pursuing narrow political ends were oblivious to the social, cultural, religious and political damage being done to Punjab by their unmindful support to the migrant population,” he said.Terming the argument of economic need for migrant labour as hogwash, he said that it was not an economic issue but a political one. Posing a direct question to established political parties, the leaders asked: “What is the need to facilitate the making of ration cards and voter identity cards of the migratory population? Why can’t landlords and industrialists employ the teeming unemployed Punjabis? Why is the government shying from imparting technical and vocational education?”
Strongly criticizing the Election Commission for its failure to check double standards in Punjab, the president of Dal Khalsa Satnam Singh posed a string of questions to the Election Commission of India asking how any Punjabi could have a double vote in another state of India? There are more than ten lac voters in Punjab who are voters in more than one place in India , he said, adding that the Election Commission should evolve a computerized statistical mechanism to weed out people who have double votes and punish them as well.
“There is more than enough Punjabi labour, but both in the farmlands and in industrial units, employers look for cheap labour by flouting legal provisions of the Minimum Wages Act. Malls, buildings, residential estates all have their head offices in Delhi and beyond and they employ non-Punjabi labour and white collar staff and use heavy machinery from outside Punjab. The so-called developmental process that we see all around is benefitting only the non-Punjabis and unscrupulous leaders of Akali Dal Badal and Congress,” he further added. Taking the discourse to a high pitch, Satnam Singh said, “if this was not colonialism, then what it was?”
He revealed that the Dal Khalsa had undertaken a detailed study on the subject and it would be presented to the people of Punjab in due course. Kanwarpal Singh, the spokesperson of the party, said that they were not merely pointing out the problem but were suggesting practical solutions too. Their present task was to mobilize public opinion and make them aware of the coming danger, he said.”We know that this problem would not be resolved with force. Rather a political will as well as legal recourse was needed to get the issue settled,” he maintained.
The government of Punjab would do well to formulate legal measures to ensure that at least 70 percent of all jobs are reserved for Punjabis in the state in the public and the private sector, demanded the Dal Khalsa leader. “If Maharastra can do it, why can not Punjab?” he asked. “If Punjabis were not allowed to purchase land and property in Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal, then why should the lands of Punjab be open for sale to all and sundry without regulation?” he further asked.
Mohkam Singh and Bhai Jsbir Singh Rode, both senior members of the Khalsa Action Committee also spoke on the issue. They rued that Punjabi language and culture was ruined in a planned way.
The organizers claimed that the top brass of the police privately admitted that the migratory population was the root cause of the deteriorating law and order situation, but expressed helplessness as there was far too much political interference in seeking a solution. They sought registration of all new entrants into Punjab .
If there was a compendium of law and regulation passed by the Supreme Court of India to stop encroachments of towns and cities all over the country, why there was no political will to protect the cities? asked the leaders. Dal Khalsa leadership called upon all concerned to ensure that there was no encroachment in our vicinities.
Earlier during a halt in local gurdwara at Phagwara, the march reportedly paid homage to the victims of the November 1984 anti-Sikh carnage. The speakers said that they were still waiting for the day when the Congress leadership of India would be punished for its role in the pogrom. The party president termed the Nov 84 pogrom as a blot on the image of the Indian Democracy.
Shinder Pal Singh, local leader of the Dal Khalsa said their party would continue such marches under the nomenclature of Punjab Jagao March. In the coming months, Dal Khalsa would hold one day marches in Ludhiana and Jalandhar to focus on the problem and seek solutions for the worsening demographic situation in Punjab. Dal Khalsa made a fervent appeal to all Punjabis to respond to their call and work for an amicable and peaceful solution to the emerging crisis. Gurdeep SIngh, Mandhir SIngh, Jarnail SIngh and Parbhjot Singh also spoke on the occasion.