September 4, 2008 • 9:54 am 2
DIVISION of J&K STATE – INEVITABLE
By Prof. VIRENDER GUPTA
The role of Kashmiri leaders during Shri Amarnath Shrine Board land issue, including those of the so called Kashmir based mainstream political parties has vindicated the stand that there is no hope for the people of Jammu province to get justice in the present political set up where Jammu province remains as a part of Jammu and Kashmir State. This is borne by the fact of resorting to 62 days of an unprecedented & unique massive agitation by the people of Jammu region to have this trivial matter settled. The communal, parochial and anti – Jammu mind set of the Kashmiri leadership would in no case allow Jammu to get its due representation and share in the State Assembly, the State Government services, in the matter of development & in selection to professional institutions. The problems of displaced persons of 1947 from the Pakistan occupied part of Jammu and Kashmir and from Chhamb in 1965, 1971 or of those of West Pakistan refugees have not been addressed so far & are not going to be addressed by any of the Kashmir dominated Government because of its communal and prejudicial perceptions.
The worry of the people of Jammu province is that Kashmiri leadership by its calculated and mischievous designs is bent upon eroding and finishing their geographical, political and cultural identity. They are trying to create communal divide among the people of Jammu province, making all efforts to create a Kashmir like situation in Jammu province and then separate whole of Jammu and Kashmir from India.
The people of Jammu province have been subjected to political neglect and worst kind of discrimination and have become practically slaves in the hands of Kashmir rulers. This region possesses almost 50% of the state’s population and an area 1.7 times of the Kashmir Valley, and it is of difficult and inaccessible terrain. The region deserves more seats in the state assembly than valley. With 37 seats in the state assembly on an average one assembly segment represents 710 sq. Km area with 73 thousands voters in Jammu province, whereas in Kashmir it has 346 sq. Km area and 55 thousand voters. In the Civil Secretariat, representation of the people of Jammu province is less than 15% & only about 25% in the total state government services. The problem of unemployment in Jammu province is far more acute than that in the valley. Out of total unemployed youth in the state about 70% belong to this region. Jammu province contributes over 70% to the state’s revenue whereas it gets only 20-30% of the total allocation for development. Hardly 10% of funds available from the Government of India have so far been spent in the development works in Jammu province. Tourism; Handicrafts & Horticulture in Jammu province have remained deliberately neglected so that the region does not become a competitor to the valley.
The Governments lead by Mufti and Ghulam Nabi Azad which boast of equitable treatment for all the regions did not play a fair game with Jammu province. Road network of Jammu province is about 24 % against 55% in the Valley. Expenditure on the road network in Jammu province in the 8th and 9th plan remained 14,418 lac and 29,238 lac where it is 24,722lac and 40,368 lac. for the Valley. This is in spite of the fact that Jammu has 170 times more area than the valley and the difficult hilly terrain in Jammu province needs more expenditure for the construction of roads. The Tourism budget of 2007 shows that Jammu got 4 crore against 20 crore allocated for the valley, i.e. only 16.66 percent. Total expenditure on Irrigation schemes incurred in Jammu province, where a major portion of the area is ‘KANDI’; in the 8th and 9th plan is only 6118 lac and 8705 lac where as it is 10,297 lac and 15,944 lac in Kashmir where the major portion of land is flat & its water table is very high. In Horticulture too about 90% expenditure was made in the valley in the 8th and 9th plans & only 10% in Jammu region.
It is asserted that the division of Jammu and Kashmir State into three states of Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir alongwith the creation of a Union Territory in the Valley for the Kashmir Pandits, Kashmiri Sikhs and other communities like Gujjars and Shia Muslims of Kashmir Valley is the requirement of the day. This division of Jammu and Kashmir State is essential because of the following reasons: –
The anti- Jammu, anti-Ladakh policies and communal and secessionist mindset of the Kashmir leadership coupled with the appeasement policy towards the Kashmiri Muslim leadership pursued by the Government of India and the other national political parties shall not allow Jammu and Ladakh to get justice and their due share in the present political structure in Jammu and Kashmir State. The writ of the Kashmiri leaders shall always run the state. The aspirations of the people of the other two regions shall always be sacrificed and the people of these regions shall be forced to accept the type of the political structure that the Kashmiri leadership proposes, even if that may be Azadi, Self Rule or Greater Autonomy.
The union of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions is an unnatural wedlock that took place during Maharaja Gulab Singh reign under the Amritsar Treaty of 1846. All the three regions have their own distinct identity and personality since times immemorial. All the three regions have different political, linguistic, social and cultural perceptions. The interests, aspirations and needs of these regions are conflicting and mutually exclusive. The nature has also separated these regions and has provided distinct geographical identities. Jammu is separated from the Kashmir Valley by Pirpanjal range where as Kashmir Valley is separated from the Ladakh region by Zanskar ranges.
This division of Jammu and Kashmir State shall be an instrument in fulfilling the aspirations of all the regions and communities of the state and shall provide them the opportunity to form the Government of their choice and develop and progress as per their aspirations in a democratic and secular country as the India is.
The division shall free the people of Jammu & Ladakh regions from the domination of fundamentalist, communal and secessionist leadership of the Kashmir valley and the secular traditions and secular ethos will be allowed to flourish there.
The secessionist elements shall remain confined within the Kashmir Valley and other areas of the present Jammu and Kashmir State can be insulated from their influence and propaganda.
The identity of each region shall be protected. It may be mentioned that the identities of Jammu and Ladakh regions are under constant threats of elimination due to the Kashmiri influence and domination.
There shall be no complaint of discriminatory treatment against any region or community. The present alienations of the people of the three regions among themselves shall vanish and good understanding and friendly relationship shall develop after the division of the state.
This present agitation has given the opportunity to the people of Jammu province to assert their will & also bring to the forefront the discrimination they have faced since the last 61 years. It is a massive demonstration of the will of the people of Jammu region irrespective of the religion and the area to which they belong to. It gave a clear signal to the Kashmir leadership and to the power that at Delhi that people of Jammu region should not be taken for granted & their aspirations can no longer be neglected to appease the secessionist forces of the valley. In case the old exercise of appeasing the Kashmiris at the cost of the people of Jammu region is repeated the people of Jammu region shall respond with heightened protests and demonstrations. It should also be understood the massive participation of the people in the present agitation and their unique support is an out burst of these people & they want freedom – Azadi from the Kashmir domination now.
Prof. Virender Gupta is President JSM (P) and an original thinker and pioneer on the issues related with discrimination of Jammu. He may be contacted at Cell:91 – 9419196301, Tel: 91 – 191 – 2463031
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