Citing Punjab's historical links with Jammu and Kashmir since Maharaja Ranjit Singh's time, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention for the inclusion of Punjabi in the official list of languages of the Union Territory (UT).
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Amarinder Singh urged him to advise the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to reconsider and review the official list and include Punjabi also as one of the official languages in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.
Voicing the resentment of the Punjabi community over the exclusion of the language from the list of official languages, Amarinder Singh pointed out that Jammu and Kashmir was a part of Punjab during the era of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, with Punjabi as one of the vernacular languages of the region.
Jammu and Kashmir Languages Bill, 2020
When Jammu and Kashmir came into existence as an independent state, Punjabi was a widely spoken language there and is now the mother tongue of all the Punjabis in the Jammu region, besides being spoken by the Punjabi community living in Kashmir Valley, he wrote.
The Chief Minister pointed out that under the Jammu and Kashmir Languages Bill, 2020 which was passed by both the Houses of Parliament with voice vote in September 2020, Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi were included in the list of official languages in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, in addition to the existing Urdu and English.
Unfortunately, Punjabi was not included in the list of languages, which are not just official languages now of the UT but will also be taught in schools as compulsory subjects.