13 Aug 2008
Jammu: Denial, Delay, and Dereliction
Jammu, the city of temples, is now burning because Jammuites have been denied their due share for long. The region has been made to play a second fiddle to respective state administrations, headed by individuals belonging to the Valley.....

Background

JAMMU, THE winter-capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir has had a lame-duck status in any given political dispensation, and time and again, one way or the other, the region has been made to play a second fiddle to respective state administrations, headed by individuals belonging to the Valley.

As long as one can remember, it has always been the state of affairs. In other words, it was never in dispute that J&K consisted of three distinct geographical and ethnic regions – Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. Jammu, without doubt is an essential ingredient, and has played a crucial role in past one and a half decade of turmoil, to act as a deterrent to the overt and covert manoeuvres of the separatists in the Valley. It goes to the credit of the people of this historical city, who have stood tall, despite all odds, and given a befitting reply to the separatists and secessionist elements, which are hell bent upon destroying the secular fabric of the state.

The essential count, which needs to be done to protect Jammu area from being nibbled away, is to make certain that Jammu stays on a level keel, politically speaking. A rational study is indicative that Kashmir acquires the lion’s share in the political, and as well as the administrative domain. The Central endowments made to the state, have in the past not been disseminated equally between the three regions, depriving Jammu and Ladakh of the ways and means to make progress evenly with the Valley. Kashmir, which has a land area of 15,853 sq km, and inhabits less than half of the state’s population, returns 46 legislators to the 87 – member Legislative Assembly, the Jammu region, in contrast, spread over 26,293 sq km and with a population more or less equivalent to Kashmir, has the right to return only 37 legislators.

This political disparity in the dispensation is another major cause of resentment for the people of Jammu. Between 1966 and 1981, the state government had set up with much fanfare three commissions to placate the Jammu populace: Gajendragadkar Commission (1967), Qadri Commission (1972) and Sikri Commission (1979). While the first two were to look out the grievances of the Jammuites and propose measures to resolve the regional one-sidedness, the Sikri Panel was to scrutinise the demand for formation of more districts in the Jammu region. The subsequent regimes never implemented the recommendations of these commissions, and reduced the findings to the ’history dustbin.’

Amarnath Controversy: Step forward

Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government should immediately recall governor of Jammu and Kashmir, NN Vohra, for his partisan role in cancellation of 800 kanals of forest land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB). Congress-led UPA government should also immediately restore the 800 kanals of forest land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), without any further delay. The decision to cancel allocation of land to SASB by Congress-led Ghulam Nabi Azad government, with the tacit support of the Congress-led UPA government, is an extremely sad and partisan decision aimed purely at appeasing the secessionists, fundamentalists and anti-national elements in Kashmir.

Fact remains that state governments in India do, from time to time, divert thousands of acres of land to departments like telecom, power development, tourism, public works, etc. There is no reason, why only these 800 kanals of forest land should become an issue. And that too when the decision in the first place was given a go-ahead by forest and law departments headed by two Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ministers, Kazi Mohammad Afzal and Muzzaffar Hussein Baig, respectively. And, subsequently unanimously adopted by the cabinet of the Congress-PDP regime in the state.

We’ve reasons to believe that certain vested interests have deliberately ensured a complete blackout in the mainstream media on the legitimate and just agitation carried out by the people of Jammu against the cancellation of land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) – people of this country deserve to know the truth about the details of the just cause for which the people of the Jammu region have been fighting / agitating for the past many weeks. It is regrettable to note the double standards and hypocrisy of the mainstream media, who have made heroes out of secessionists, fundamentalists and anti-national elements in Kashmir – every time, Shabbir Shah, Yasin Malik, Sajjad Lone, and the likes of them receive even a bruise, the inconsequential event or happening is developed into national headlines.

Overall Internal Security

The Congress-led UPA government has completely and comprehensively failed in addressing the internal security concerns of India - pressing need for tougher laws, to act as deterrent against terrorism have been repeatedly, time and again, overlooked in support of vote-bank politics and minority appeasement, in favour of a particular community. It is extremely distressing that while almost all the Western nations, including America and United Kingdom have put in place tougher laws to deal with counter terrorism, Congress-led UPA government in India, despite repetitive, umpteen attacks, across length and breadth of the country, continues to turn a blind eye on the menace of Islamic terrorism and fundamentalism, sponsored by our neighbouring countries across the border.

UPA government has time and again given only knee jerk reactions on terror attacks, rather than have a coherent, deterrent policy, as a result of which the Central government has failed to discharge its fundamental duty, in protecting the lives of the people, in this country.

Kashmir Telegraph News Service

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