New Delhi, Sep 16 (PTI) Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Pratap Singh Bajwa on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to include Punjabi as an official language of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Centre on September 2 had approved the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020, including Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi as official languages of the Union Territory, apart from the existing Urdu and English.
In his letter to the PM, Bajwa highlighted the long historical connection between Jammu and Kashmir and his state, and urged him to reconsider the bill to include Punjabi in the list.
Also during Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, he raised the issue of Punjabi not being included in the list of official language of J&K.
In Rajya Sabha, the MP from Punjab highlighted that Punjabi is spoken by a significant number of people in the Union Territory.
He also pointed out that Schedule 6 of the Constitution of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir recognised eight languages, including Punjabi, as regional languages of the state.
Starting from 1808, when Jammu was brought as a province under the control of the Sikh Empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Bajwa underscored in his letter, that the Empire slowly brought Kashmir under its governance in 1819, and Ladakh in 1834.
In his letter, he 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 became the first ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1846.
'I urge you to reconsider the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020 by including Punjabi which is spoken by a significant number of people living within the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir,' he said in his letter to the PM.
The MP also underlined the role of Punjabi as a language that connects people of different faiths both in India and around the world.
He requested the government to reconsider this Bill and include Punjabi as an official language in Jammu and Kashmir. PTI SKC SKC TIR TIR