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Establishment of AIIMS in Jammu is people's own contribution
ET was with the movement from day one
2/6/2019 12:06:21 AM
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Feb 5: PM Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Vijaypur. Ever since then, certain groups have been claiming credit for the establishment of the AIIMS. The BJP, and who not, have been patting their backs and claiming that it was due to their efforts that Jammu got AIIMS.
What's the true story of facts? The fact is it was on February 1, 2015 that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced AIIMS for Jammu. He made this statement while presenting budget on the floor of the Lok Sabha. However, on March 1, 2015, when PDP, in alliance with the BJP, assumed office, CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed announced that the sanctioned AIIMS will be established in Kashmir, and not in Jammu. In fact, he made public the PDP-BJP agenda of Alliance in Jammu itself, which said that AIIMS will be established in Kashmir. The state government on March 15 state governor's address to a joint sitting of both the houses of the state legislature also said that AIIMS will be established in the Valley.
Committed as it was (and is) to the genuine cause of Jammu, your paper Early Times was the first to take the plunge and justify the demand seeking establishment of the sanctioned AIIMS in Jammu. It supported the demand editorially umpteen times and in its columns, your paper also repeatedly said that the setting up of AIIMS in Jammu will not only reduce the load of AIIMS, New Delhi, but the establishment of the sanctioned institute in Kashmir will also defeat the whole purpose as it would be extremely difficult to carry the patients there from Jammu and the neighbouring states to Kashmir. The view of your paper was that Kashmir already had the AIIMS-like SKIMS as well as highly developed and well-equipped GMCH. It had also suggested repeatedly that specialist and super-specialists from outside Kashmir will be reluctant to go to the valley owing to prevailing uncertain conditions and ongoing secessionist violence and that Jammu, which lacked even rudimentary healthcare facilities, will be the most suitable from all angles. Jammu needed AIIMS all the more because the number of patients, who were referred from its Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) to hospitals outside Jammu, was far more than referred by Kashmir medical institutes to hospitals outside the Valley was the refrain of your paper. Your paper remained on the forefront during all those days of agitation launched to get the sanctioned AIIMS for Jammu.
As expected, the announcement had also created a sort of furore in Jammu with people cutting across party lines denouncing the PDP-BJP coalition government and threatening that they would launch a relentless movement in Jammu in case the decision was not reversed. The state government ignored the warning. The BJP even went to the extent of declaring that "there is no question of snatching AIIMS from Kashmir and giving it to Jammu".
Convinced that the adamant and biased PDP-BJP government would not reverse the decision, the people of Jammu observed bandh on April 24. It was a massive affair. Even the bandh in Jammu didn't move the authorities. The result was that the people intensified their campaign. The AIIMS controversy, which had the potential of dividing people on regional lines, had even divided the BJP in the state with its many senior leaders, including the then Political Advisor to state BJP president Jugal Kishore Sharma, Prof Hari Om, and others, supporting the movement overtly and covertly.
The movement continued for weeks together. Jammu also observed bandh for four more days. Not just this, in between, there police-crowd clashes as well as clashes between the agitators and the BJP cadres. The BJP tried its best to persuade the trading community to not observe bandh, but with no result. Such was the nature of determination of the agitating people of Jammu.
The bandh would have continued for more days, but certain vested interests betrayed the agitating people of Jammu province. Who doesn't know who were these vested interests, who sought to sabotage the movement for reasons best known to them. The whole truth is that the vested interests tried their best to defeat the movement but they failed as the people of Jammu province were determined to achieve their declared goal. It was under these circumstances that the Union Government announced that J&K will have two AIIMS, one each in Jammu province and Kashmir Valley. It's a different story that the authorities took more than 3 years and six months to start construction of AIIMS on February 3. The credit for the establishment of AIIMS goes to the people of Jammu province, and not to those who sabotaged the movement and declared that no power on earth could snatch it from Kashmir.
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