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Separate Statehood for Jammu
Omkar Dattatray4/15/2019 11:43:58 PM
Not an iota of exaggeration but all plain speaking and truth. Only a novice to Jammu and Kashmir will be astonished or will perhaps not agree with the stark reality of discriminations against Jammuites. The discrimination with Jammu has assumed enormous proportions and there seems no way out except to espouse the demand of the people for a separate statehood. Discrimination and step-motherly treatment are the proper epithets gaining currency in the political and social circles in Jammu. This is not without sound and valid basis. But the irony is the people of this region are made to bend and kneel every now and then by the successive power regimes of New Delhi and the state. The same is the case with Asifa rape and murder and its ramifications. The fact is that people over here are made to dance to the tunes of diktats and directions of power hungry rulers. This is a very disturbing development indeed and very harmful for the interest of the people. While the people of this border state (read Kashmir) are the masters of their destiny but the people of Jammu are made to kneel at the whims, likes and caprices of the cunning politicians and rulers alike who in all probability take a sadistic delight in keeping these people in perpetual subjugation, want and poverty. Their aspirations, genuine concerns, sentiments, emotions and even the dignity are ignored. Only that gets fruit which has the support of Kahsmiri bureaucracy and politicians. From day one of self rule and freedom, Jammuites stand discriminated against in the matters of fund allocation, developmental works, welfare schemes, employment avenues and what not. In the matter of career development, professional as well as educational, they perhaps figure nowhere. In infrastructural, economic and civic amenities, Jammuites are the last priority. The step motherly attitude towards Jammu is not hidden from anyone. Their share in civil secretariat services is very low. Jammu's representation in legislative assembly is also not commensurate with its population and geographical area. There is total apathy and indifference towards the genuine problems and grievances of these people both at the hands of the state and the central governments. Being patriotic to the core their tolerance is tested every time and for the faults and follies of others these people are made to suffer and pay the price. So rightly a strong resentment is brewing among the Jammuites against this brazen and wholesale discrimination and they demand a separate statehood for themselves. It is not worth contemplating that earlier when people were to be persecuted by power shutdown by 11 hours and more and a Jammuite is made the power minister and another its chief engineer so that people rise against them and not against the men behind the scenes who are kashmiri rulers. Such instances are true at present times as well. It is only through trifurcation or quadrufurcation of the state that the sentiments of all the sections of the people of J&K can be satisfied including those of KPs who want a homeland within Kashmir. Jammu has wrongly and unnecessarily been tagged with Kashmir for some political expediency. while the fact remains that it is culturally, historically, lingually, socially and even geographically a separate and distinct as well as compact unit in itself. It is not wrong to say that whole problem in J&K is one of political aspirations and more so of crises of cultural identity. Unless this problem of J&K is addressed by recognition of separate regional identities, no worthwhile solution can be envisaged. Thus to put an end to glaring discrimination against the people of Jammu it is mandatory on the part of centre and state establishments to accept the demand for a separate statehood for Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and homeland for KPs within Kashmir. Earlier according to then LBA President Tsering Samphal, it will send a positive signal to the international community that only 25 percent of the total area in J&K is disturbed and 75 percent area is not affected by militancy. This will definitely give India an edge in the world community so far as J&K problem is concerned and the people of Jammu and Ladakh will not suffer for the wrongs of some Kashmiris. Every time when Jammuites seek redressal of their grievances and protest against the discrimination meted out to them, they are labeled communal by the vested interests.
Now when their demand for a separate statehood is gaining momentum, the same elements describe it as communal and against the unity and integrity of the nation. One wonders why and how? The discrimination is with the Jammu region as a whole and the advocates of separate statehood strive for all the people of this region and not for any particular community. Thus projecting this demand as communal is humbug. People of Jammu are the progeny of great men of sacrifice, valor, fortitude and courage. Gulab Singh, Dogra Zorawar singh, Brigadier Rajendar singh, Pt. Prem Nath Dogra and other such great men are their torch bearers. So they should work, strive and work unitedly and with one voice for the realization of their objective of a separate state within Indian constitutional framework. They no longer like to live with the discriminatory and controversial provision of article 370 which is a temporary and has spread the seeds of separatism in this volatile and sensitive state. Besides this a planned conspiracy is hatched to change the demographic character of Jammu by allowing Rohingyas and Bangladeshi immigrants to settle in an around Jammu and this if not checked in time will ultimately pave the way for the strong hold of fanatics and militants in this somewhat peaceful region. People of Jammu and bar association Jammu have protested and voiced their genuine concern for this disturbing development but casual approach towards the discrimination will not work and thus what is required is dedication and sacrifice. Thus Jammuites should carry their genuine and rational demand to its logical conclusion with courage and strength. Now that the Modi government has appointed Mr. Dineshwar Sharma as the interlocutor to talk to various groups and cross sections of people as well as the Hurriyat. The people of Jammu should wholeheartedly plead their case for a separate statehood but will they, is a moot question?
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