Nation’s unity depends upon Jammu’s territorial integrity and strength

A strong Jammu is an asset for the nation

A strong Jammu is an asset for the nation
A strong Jammu is an asset for the nation

The BJP has become a potential threat to the territorial integrity of Jammu region

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he BJP all along fought elections in Jammu region on three specific planks – national unity, equal status to Jammu region with Kashmir and unity and territorial integrity of Jammu region, considered strategically very crucial for the nation. All of its manifestos focused on these three specific issues which the people of the region held very dear. Even its election manifesto of 2014, which didn’t see the light of the day since the high command decided not to release it, according to many insiders, “had given prominence to these three specific issues, notwithstanding the fact that it had diluted its stand on Article 370 after some newly-inducted persons in the BJP, including Hina Bhat, threatened that they would turn militants in case the BJP raised the issue of Article 370 during its election campaign in the State”.

The people of Jammu region had never thought that the BJP would forge a coalition with the essentially Valley-based and Kashmir-centric pro-self-rule PDP

The BJP’s “Vision Document” that was released in November, when the election campaign was in full swing, too, had highlighted these issues, though it didn’t contain any reference whatsoever to Article 370. It is clear that the BJP sought and got the mandate from Jammu on the election planks which were to the liking of the people of Jammu region. It created a history by winning 25 of the 37 seats from Jammu province and the people voted more for Prime Minister Narendra Modi than the BJP candidates, most of them were little known or not known at all.

It is pertinent to mention here that the people of Jammu region, before and after the 2014 Assembly elections, were known for their three relentless struggles.

One, they struggled hard for the complete integration of J and K into India and for which they also made many supreme sacrifices.

Two, they struggled year after year against the New Delhi-backed Kashmiri hegemony over the state polity to obtain their due share in the governance of the State.

And three, they didn’t leave any stone unturned to defeat the protagonists of Greater Kashmir comprising Kashmir and Muslim-majority areas of Jammu region and Ladakh.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he people of Jammu region had never thought that the BJP would forge a coalition with the essentially Valley-based and Kashmir-centric pro-self-rule PDP, but it did exactly the opposite. It not only joined hands with the PDP for some loaves and fishes of office but also in collaboration with it worked out and endorsed an Agenda that dashed to the ground all of their hopes.

Will the BJP, which says day-in and day-out that it will implement the agenda of the alliance in letter and spirit, review its stand on it?


The critics of the Agenda of Alliance term it as the “carbon-copy of the PDP election manifesto 2014”.

The Agenda of Alliance was made public by Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh on March 1st, 2015, nearly two hours after the formation of the coalition government.

What happened that day shocked the people of Jammu region and the reason was the virtual exclusion of the region from the all-powerful State Cabinet that enjoys absolute administrative, political and financial powers and also takes policy decisions on all vital issues.

However, what shocked and alarmed them all the more was that part of the Agenda of Alliance which segregated Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Poonch and Rajouri districts from the plains of Jammu region. It described Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban districts as Chenab Valley region and Poonch-Rajouri belt as Pir Panjal region.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]M[/dropcap]any concerned citizens described, and continue to describe, this part of the Agenda of Alliance as a “conspiracy hatched by the BJP to divide Jammu region into three parts to help the votaries of Greater Kashmir accomplish their most cherished dream”.


“We had voted for the BJP hoping that it would protect and preserve the distinct identity of Jammu region and puncture and defeat the age-old Kashmir-sponsored break-Jammu movement, but the BJP ditched and betrayed them by conceding the most sinister demand that sought division of Jammu region for furthering the seditionist agenda in the highly strategic part of the country,” they have been repeatedly saying.

They have also been adding that the “Agenda of Alliance if implemented in its original form, would not only erode the identity of the region beyond recognition but would also cause an irreparable damage to the national interest in the State”. “The BJP has become a potential threat to the territorial integrity of Jammu region” has been one of their major refrains.

Their apprehensions are well founded. Indeed, the Agenda of Alliance does constitute a live threat to the unity and integrity of Jammu region whose contribution to India is spectacular and which houses highly liberal and patriotic population.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]hat the Agenda of Alliance seeks to dismember Jammu region could be seen from what it says about Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban, the so-called Chenab Valley, and Poonch-Rajouri-belt, the so-called Pir Panjal region. It says the PDP-BJP Government will “restructure and strengthen the Chenab Valley Power Projects Limited as a holding company for all hydropower projects in the state; earmarking 2 per cent of revenue from hydropower for the development of the Chenab region and sets up of a new specialized high-tech IT Park and Biotech parks in Pir Panjal”.


Besides, the agenda of alliance urges New Delhi to hand over the NHPC-run projects in the State to the J and K Government. “Explore modalities for transfer of Dulhasti and Uri hydropower projects to J and K,” it, inter-alia, says.

All this should vindicate the critics of the Agenda of Alliance and establish that the BJP committed a grave wrong by describing the Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban districts or the erstwhile Doda district as Chenab Valley and Poonch and Rajouri districts as Pir Panjal Valley.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]here exists in Jammu region no such Valley as the so-called Chenab Valley region or Pir Panjal Valley region. If at all there exists a Valley in the Jammu region in the area from which the mighty and precious Chenab River flows, it is located in the Reasi district between Reasi town and the NHPC-run Salal Hydro Power Project. Remember, Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban and Poonch districts and parts of Rajouri district are all located in the Pir Panjal mountain range – the natural dividing line between Jammu region and Kashmir Valley.


Will the BJP, which says day-in and day-out that it will implement the agenda of the alliance in letter and spirit, review its stand on it? It must in the interest of its own constituency and the larger national interest. A strong Jammu is an asset for the nation and a weak Jammu will only help Jihadis extend their tentacles beyond the Valley and endanger national unity.


Note:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

Hari Om is former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Jammu.
Hari Om

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