MINGORA: The members of Sikh community have demanded of the government to set up a religious school for their children, grant official leave for their religious festivals and construct a community hall for them in Mingora.
Talking to this scribe here on Wednesday, they said that they were safe in Swat. They said that Sikhs had been living in the area for the last 300 years. They said that their children did not have separate religious school.
“We don’t have a specific educational centre for our religious teachings in Gurmukhi language for our children. We will be grateful if government sets up a separate school for our religious teachings in Gurmukhi language,” said Gulzari Lala, a retired district account officer.
DC pledges to fulfil all legal demands of community
He said that presently more than 300 Sikh families were living in Swat. He said that Sikh community needed a community hall for holding different events. “The government has already allotted us land. It will resolve our problems, if government constructs a community hall for us on the land,” he added.
The members of Mingora Gurdwara committee thanked the district administration for providing security to the Gurdwara. However, they said that the security personnel were Muslims and had problem to differentiate between Muslims and Sikhs.
“We demand of the government to hire two male and two female security guards from our Sikh community for the Gurdwara,” said Bansri Lal, head of the Gurdwara.
He added that government should also provide security cameras and other necessary equipment to their religious places.
Oam Parkash, another member of the community, said that many Sikhs worked in different government departments but they did not have holidays to celebrate their religious festivals.
“We demand of the government to grant us official leave on our religious festivals,” he said.
The members of Sikh community also demanded of the government to provide them Sehat cards.
Deputy Commissioner Saqib Raza Aslam said that all legal demands of Sikh community would be fulfilled.
“It will be ensured to follow the quota system in the health department and Sehat cards will also be provided to all the members of Sikh community. I will immediately ask the TMO to release funds for the construction of community hall,” he added.
Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2019