JAMMU: Essentially a traders’ body, Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries wields a decisive influence over political discourse of the Duggar region unlike in Kashmir where secessionists’ writ remains more than pronounced. In its days of political wilderness as Opposition, the BJP’s political aggressiveness hugely depended upon the will and wish of the CCI. None of the calls given by the BJP for Bandhs used to have impact without active support of the Chamber. Therefore, the ultimatum held out by the CCI to civil society in Kashmir for ‘initiating intra-regional discussions with the people of Jammu and Ladakh’, in the wake of current Kashmir unrest, assumes significance. Without mincing words, the Chamber has made it unequivocally clear that they do not support the way of protests chosen by Kashmiris ‘which was leading the people towards the path of self destruction and not self determination’.
The CCI has been forthright in calling spade a spade. Mincing no words over the obtaining alarming situation in the Valley, it has set a deadline till 1 PM on Friday for the positive response from the Kashmir civil society with regard to initiation of dialogue with the stake holders of Ladakh and Jammu, lest a complete Bandh will be observed in the winter capital on 20th August in support of peace and communal harmony and ‘against the agenda of anti-national elements’.
The assertive role of the CCI, in fact, is a reflection on Jammu’s political class that is mostly cast to play second-fiddle role to placate their Kashmiri masters. While Kashmiri politicians, despite their political and ideological divergences and mainstream and secessionist roles, are seen on the same page when it comes to their peculiar identity, Jammu has failed in getting united to face the challenges to their very existence and to national security and integrity.
Jammu has all along failed in calling the bluff of anti-national elements in Kashmir, who have succeeded to let the world know, by disinformation campaign, that the entire Jammu and Kashmir (including Ladakh) is reeling under repression and oppression let loose by Indian State and its ‘occupational’ forces. Whenever pseudo-activists and non-governmental organisations report about ‘Azadi’ movement in few districts of Kashmir, they religiously and sinisterly involve the entire State. Never ever have the secessionists ignored mention of Jammu in the media interface as constitutionally letting out the regions of Jammu and Ladakh puts them on a wrong wicket. This sensitivity of the so-called Kashmir issue has not been appreciated by power-hungry and gutless politicians of Jammu though Ladakh has stood tall during the past two decades to make its distinct identity felt.
Just five days ago, all religious organisations of Leh had made a joint appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not ignoring Ladakh’s aspirations while having talks with stakeholders to find a solution to the ongoing crisis in Kashmir. They had actually asserted that Ladakh has its own identity with no homogeneity with Kashmir in terms of culture, language and ethnicity and therefore needs to be involved in all talks and meetings on Kashmir issue so as to avoid any resentment in future. They also warned that any attempt at handling the Kashmir issue in isolation by ignoring the problems of Ladakh will not only be short-sighted but also counterproductive.
Cutting across party lines and religious barriers, the Buddhists, Muslims and Christians of the desert region assertively stated:”We strongly feel that the Union Territory with an elected legislature is the only instrument through which the present political ambivalence can be ended and by which we can achieve our aspirations. We place trust in your (Prime Minister’s) sagacity and urge upon you to fulfill our demand without any further delay. We are committed to continuing our joint struggle for our collective honour and dignity.”
Obviously, the negation coming from vital Ladakh region unnerved the Kashmiri secessionists who pushed their ‘very few’ lackeys in the Kargil district to give a communal twist to what the religious bodies in Leh resolved. It was a big ‘no’ to secessionist movement in Kashmir.
Now, with Jammu reflecting its aspirations through the Chamber of Commerce and Industries is all set to upset secessionists and soft-secessionists’ apple-cart in the Kashmir Valley. The protagonists of the ‘Azadi’, ‘Kashmir Banega Pakistan’, ‘Autonomy’ and ‘Self-Rule’ are confined to very few towns of the Kashmir Valley. It is actually vocal segments of Kashmiris, who have maintained their hegemony in mainstream and divisive politics thus subjugating the silent segments of Muslims, Paharis, Gujjars, Bakerwals, Shias, Baltis, Sikhs and Kashmiri Hindus, as also the people of Jammu besides Buddhists and Muslims of Ladakh. These segments, if united will reduce the anti-national elements in parts of the Valley in minority- a situation uncomfortable for terror state of Pakistan.
This should have happened much earlier. However, better late than never! Time has come when the international community should be made to know that the secessionist movement in Jammu and Kashmir is restricted to the power-brokers and agents of Pakistan in the separatist camp, who have been enjoying best of both the worlds for nearly seven decades. Time has also come to call their bluff. This can happen only if Jammu will start asserting and Ladakh reasserting their stated positions.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper