PESHAWAR: The omission of Sikhism in the national census form led to protests on Monday against the federal government by adherents of the faith.
The religious minority called on the Supreme Court to take notice of the issue and to Sikhism as a separate religion. “We have been totally omitted from the national census form,” said Rakesh Singh Toney, who led the protest outside Peshawar Press Club. Toney said that to ignore one of the major religions of the country would be a blatant violation of the rights of equal citizens.
The demonstrators said that they had a separate identity around the world based on their religious beliefs. They said Sikhs form the second-largest religious group in Peshawar, adding that at the time of the previous census in 1998, the community lacked awareness and was unable to raise the issue on a proper platform. The protesters implored the CJP and the prime minister to understand the gravity of the situation and take notice of the issue.
Bab Je Guru Gurpal Singh, a protester, said that apart from ignoring Sikhism, several languages have also been left out of the form. “Our religion gives us our unique identity, so why has it been omitted,” Singh asked. Members of the Awami National Party joined the protest and announced their party’s support for the demand. “Our party will strongly support our Sikh brothers,” ANP worker Ghulam Mustafa proclaimed.