Jammu and Kashmir government’s silence over the resolution passed by the legislative council for declaring September 23 as gazetted holiday speaks in volumes about how callous is the approach towards Jammu region. Every demand from this region requires a full-fledged agitation for getting fulfilled and if that does not happen, state government prefers taking care of the Kashmiri Sentiment and allowing the discontent in Jammu region to grow disproportionately.
It seems, BJP which for years championed the cause of Jammu region has forgotten that it has to return to the electorate of Jammu region in future. Actions of ministers, MLAs and MLCs of BJP are contrary to what was expected from them. People of Jammu region are surprised over the silence of the BJP ministers and even the party leaders.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was in Jammu but she too did not speak about the contribution of Maharaja Hari Singh and his dynasty in making Jammu and Kashmir, a state as rich culturally and socially as it is today. Younger generation in Jammu and Kashmir which has turned the Mubarak Mandi complex into a playing ground hardly knows anything about royal Dogra dynasty especially the contribution of Maharaja Gulab Singh and Maharaja Hari Singh in making Jammu and Kashmir, a shining example of secularism and socialism for rest of the world.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti desisted from meeting social, political and religious organizations who are agitating for September 23 being declared gazetted Holiday. She could have called representatives of these outfits and held deliberations with them, convinced them state was seriously considering declaring September 23 as state holiday but she held a meeting with the police officials and closed the day for herself. Jammu is simmering with anger especially in the wake of the commitments made by BJP prior to becoming part of government.
Jammuites had a feeling that once in power; BJP would undo the years of discrimination and ensure that the pride of Duggar land is restored to the full as they would claim. But the party has preferred luxuries of power over being with their own people. The ministers are busy and they are seeking immediate settlement of their own issues. They have new agenda, agenda of convincing Kashmiris that they are their own and BJP won’t do anything which would hurt their sentiments. Their focus is Kashmir and not Jammu anymore, something which Congress did for years.
The manner in which Jammu has risen in unison to seek declaration of the Birthday of Maharaja Hari as Gazetted holiday speaks in volumes about how serious the issue is and how non-serious the government of Jammu and Kashmir is, of which BJP is a part. Central leadership of BJP too has not spoken a word over this issue. Had it been some demand from Kashmir valley, central leadership would have announced within minutes and seconds. From seeking schools in Jammu region to demanding a University campus, everything has come after agitation.
And it seems, another Shri Amarnath Land agitation is required to convince the state as well as central government about the seriousness of the issue. The government is allowing the situation to deteriorate by acting as mute spectators. Situation warranted that it should not have done so and instead, declared September 23 as state holiday. This would have gone a long way in sending a message across that the new government cares for the sentiments of the people of both regions and won’t let anyone come on the roads to seek something which is long overdue.
It is all about emotional attachment of the people with issues like this one. Addressing issues like this without allowing the situation to go out of hand is what was required. If the Kashmiri sentiment is to be taken care of, who would hold the hand of Jammuites? If the BJP has given up Jammu, then the party should get ready for the next electoral battle. People don’t forget issues easily and they remember those who disappoint and deceive them. BJP should stop being more loyal than the king approach and immediately get the demand fulfilled.
The party must bear in mind that it has to return to the electorate in Jammu region. No one stops the party from having the misconception that Kashmir would accept it sooner or later but this should not be at the cost of Jammu region which has overwhelmingly voted for it. Party got unimaginable mandate from Jammu region. If the party fails in getting this demand fulfilled, the party should stop calling itself the custodian of the rights of the Jammuites. And for Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, accepting the demand of the Jammuites would convey the message that she is different from the rulers of the past from Kashmir valley.