‘Common people in Jammu do not want to be a part of Kashmir anymore’.

 

Srinagar: Jammu’s civil society is in a churn and is shaping up into a public demand for statehood for Jammu, separate from Kashmir. The common people in Jammu do not want to be a part of Kashmir, as they feel that they are being punished for the wrongs being committed by the leadership of Kashmir along with the people. Jammu has remained silent in the past 14 months and has given all support to the BJP government for the abrogation of Article 370. They were looking for a new phase of development and also a massive employment package for the Jammu youth after the Article 370 was removed.

After the recent promise to the people of Ladakh by the Union Home Minister to give them all the safeguards, people of Jammu want statehood and to be separated from the Kashmir valley at the earliest. Recently, more than 20 political parties and social organisations held a meeting in Jammu for the demand of statehood and they are getting a lot of support from the youth. Most of the participants after the meeting told the media that in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP government has ignored the sentiments of Jammu people and has neglected them because of their focus on Kashmir and Ladakh.

The National Panthers Party (NPP) has been the galvanising forces for the recent Jammu meeting and the trigger has been the recent assurances to Ladakh for a special status along with the political alliance of all the Kashmir parties for the restoration of Article 370. NPP head Dr Harshdev Singh recently told media that the people of Jammu should not be punished for the “sins of Kashmir”. He said that if the people of Kashmir have a pro-separatist agenda, “why should we be tagged with them?”

Jammu youth are seething with anger that in the past 14 months, there has been no employment package or any visible development in that region of UT.

“We are nationalists suffering for the past 70 years. The Central government promised us change, but we got nothing so far. We now demand separate state,” said Vijay Kumar, an unemployed youth.

The domicile law and the delimitation commission have also irked the common people in Jammu, as they feel that such exercises are making them more vulnerable to cultural onslaught. “Our land and jobs are in jeopardy. We have no safeguards. We are living in fear that our land would be taken over by outsiders,” said Jagjeet Singh, an industrialist.

Dogra Sadar Sabha, chairperson Gulchain Singh Charak, who was earlier a minister from Congress and is now part of the demand for statehood, said, “We have to safeguard our interests. When the Centre can give everything to Ladakh and Kashmir, why not to us?”