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India: The current situation of Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in Srinigar

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 November 1998
Citation / Document Symbol IND30231.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, India: The current situation of Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in Srinigar, 1 November 1998, IND30231.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6acd364.html [accessed 25 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

Information on the current situation of Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in Srinigar, is scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

The Sikh population in Jammu and Kashmir numbers between 1 lakh (100,000) (The Hindu 13 Feb. 1998) and 1.8 lakh (The Tribune 4 Oct. 1998), and accounts for 1.3 per cent of the general population of 13 million (Kashmirnet n.d.). According to the Chandigarh-based daily newspaper The Tribune, the Sikh community in Jammu and Kashmir is "divided by the mushroom growth of community oganisations," and refers to the recent split between the J&K Akali Dal and the Gurdwara Prabandhak Board (4 Oct. 1998).

In a 2 January 1998 News-India Times report, following a six-week tour of India, Dr. Jagan Kaul, senior vice president of the Indo-American Kashmir Forum, stated that

...every so-called popular government in Kashmir has pursued the policy of Islamization. Consequently today, there is hardly any difference between Kashmir and the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir except that Indian tax-payers are paying for the India's own Islamic province created under the umbrella of the "congress brand of secularism." The minority properties in Kashmir continues to be occupied by the Muslims. ...

Similarly, the Hindu and Sikh places of worship, temples and Gurdwaras alike, have been looted, desecrated, vandalized, destroyed or burned. In some places, they are converted into mosques.

Kaul did not indicate when the destruction wrought against Hindu and Sikh places of worship had occurred or whether it was on-going.

Since January 1998 there has been a "wave of departures by Hindu families" following four brutal massacres of Hindu families in the Valley, Dodo district and Udhampur district of Jammu (The Hindu 26 July 1998). The Hindu reports that Kashmir's 35,000 Sikhs are also coming under pressure:

Sikh elders from the further reaches of the valley have begun to admit that they are being advised to go away for some time The excuse for putting pressure on the Sikhs has been provided by the fact that the newly-formed Special Operations Groups of the Kashmir police, which carries out operations against the militants, and is accused of high handedness, extortion and custodial deaths by the militants and the ordinary people, has a disproportionately high number of Sikhs in it. The undercurrent of unease this has created is being skillfully fanned by the Hizbul Mujahideen, which is publicly expressing growing disquiet at the Government's attempts to recruit Sikhs into SOG, and warning Sikhs to steer clear.

For general background information on the situation of Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir, please consult IND21427.E of 24 July 1995 and IND21290.E of 13 July 1995.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

The Hindu [Chennai/Madras]. 26 July 1998. "The Hindu-Editorial Pakistan's Hand in Kashmir." (NEXIS)

_____. 13 February 1998. "India BJP Running the N.C. Close." (NEXIS)

Kashmirnet. n.d. "Some Basic Facts About Kashmir: Religious Composition." [Internet] [Accessed 8 Oct. 1998]

News-India Times. 2 January 1998. "Forum Condemns Islamic Tyranny in Jammu & Kashmir."(The Ethnic NewsWatch/NEXIS)

The Tribune [Chandigarh]. 4 October 1998. "J&K Akali Dal Disowns 'Chairman'." [Internet] [Accessed 5 Oct. 1998]

Additional Sources Consulted

Electronic sources: Internet, IRB Databases.

Non-documentary sources:

One oral source did not have any information on the requested subject.

Unsuccessful attempts to contact three other oral sources.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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