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71 years on, Jammu continues to simmer
Jammu votes for Kashmir?
8/14/2018 11:26:34 PM
Early Times Report
Jammu, Aug 14: Nation is all set to celebrate with great pomp and show 72nd Independence Day. The people of Jammu province are also known for their patriotism, nationalism and commitment towards their nation. Jammu province, like Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Uttrakhand, is one region, which rightly boasts that it has sacrificed thousands of jawans to protect the borders and defeat the enemy. There are villages in Jammu where each house could be called a house of a martyr.
Jammu province is also rich in terms of natural resources, including water and green-gold. Jammu province contributes almost 75% revenue to the state exchequer annually. It is the hub of all economic activities and it also welcomes over one crore pilgrims from across India and even world every year. Kashmir's whole development depends upon the revenue Jammu contributes and Central assistance.
Notwithstanding Jammu's great contribution to the state exchequer, the people of Jammu province are a neglected lot. They do elect 37 members to the J&K Assembly, but their representatives have hardly taken up or promoted their just cause in the Assembly. The ministers from Jammu too failed to come up to their expectations, as they would always try to keep their masters in Kashmir in good humour and on their right side ignoring the interests of their constituencies. They would always take the people for a ride. This is true of all political parties. Even the party that claimed day in and day out that it was a party of Jammu has failed them, despite the fact that it won 25 seats from the province.
No wonder, Jammu province continues to simmer. The grievances of the people the province are many. They have little say in the administration, governance and law-making processes. Their presence in civil secretariat, seat of power, is just negligible. Funds for developmental activities have also become the sole preserve of Kashmir.
There is acute unemployment problem in Jammu province as its share in the service sector ranges only between 15 and 20 per cent. This can be seen from the official statistics, which say unemployment rate in Jammu province is over 69 per cent, as against less than 30 per cent in Kashmir. Out of 4.5 lakh employees in government and semi-government establishments in J&K, the share of Kashmir is almost 3.7 lakh.
The same is the story of Jammu's representation in the professional colleges and agricultural university located in Jammu province. The Government of Farooq Abdullah had to appoint a 3-member committee under RP Singhal in 1998 to look into the oft-repeated complaint of the Jammu youth that they had little share in the professional institutions. The committee candidly acknowledged that the Jammu youth had all through got a raw deal. It submitted its report in 1999 and it recommended that all the Jammu-based institutions be made the sole preserve of the Jammu youth and all such institutions located in Kashmir the sole preserve of the Kashmiri youth. But the report was not implemented and no political party, not even the BJP, ever took the pain to ask the government to implement the report.
There is hardly any area in Jammu which could be appreciated. It's not only the original inhabitants of Jammu province, including refugees from PoJK, whose life is not one of political and economic aspirations. The plight of the refugees from Pakistan and members of the Valmiki Samaj living in Jammu since decades is also very pathetic. They do not have even the right to dignified life as they are being denied all citizenship rights which are available to the Permanent Residents of the State. They are being treated as foreigners. The NC has even gone to the extent of demanding their expulsion of Jammu. The internally-displaced Kashmiri Hindus, who have been living in Jammu since 1990, have also been chaffing and seething with anger. They want to go back to Kashmir but none in New Delhi is willing to create for them separate homeland in the Valley invested with UT.
The authorities have to take note of these ground realities in Jammu province and take measures which make the people of Jammu and refugees living in Jammu to feel that they are also part of Indian polity entitled to rights their fellow countrymen exercise across the nation under the Indian Constitution. The complaint of the people of Jammu that they vote for their empowerment but their representatives talk only Kashmir just can't be brushed aside.
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