JKNF takes out procession to in support of statehood demand
12 January 2001
The Daily Excelsior
JAMMU: To give momentum to their ongoing struggle and garnerpeoples support for granting statehood to Jammu, a massive demonstration was staged by Jammu and Kashmir Nationalist Front (JKNF) here today. Hundreds of demonstrators including a seizable number of women and school children assembled at Shalamar Chowk this afternoon where from the procession started for Raj Bhavan. The demonstrators with pla cards in their hands demanding 'Sotela pan ab nahi sahain gain, Jammu state lay kay rahain gain'we will not tolerate the stepmotherly treatment any more and have resolved to get the separate State , 'Lay kay rahain gay Jammu state'We will get the statehood for Jammu, 'Bijli, pani jo nah dey woh sarkar nikami hai, jo sarkar nikami hai, woh sarkar badalni hai'The Government which can not provide electricity and water is incompetent and such Government is to be removed. The procession after passing via City Chowk, Purani Mandi, Link Road, Jain Bazar and Upper Bazar culminated in front of Raj Bhavan where two memorandums were presented to Governor. As the demonstrators passed through the various City markets the pro statehood and anti State Government slogans rent the air. One memorandum was addressed to President and Prime Minister of India which strongly advocated for reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir State by creating a separate state for Jammu and granting the union territory status to Ladakh region. The memorandum while hailing the peace initiative of Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee however, expressed its deepest concern over stepped up acts of terrorism and subversion. It said while all efforts should be taken to restore normalcy in trouble torn state, there should be no lowering of guards against the enemies of peace working on the behest of neighboring country. It maintained that for any talks to resolve the impasse in J&K the involvement of all sections of people from Jammu, Ladakh, Kashmiri Pandits, nationalistic Muslims from Valley, Gujjars and Bakerwals and other sections of the society is must. It while expressing apprehensions regarding transfer of power, warned that repeat of exercise to handover the destiny of all the people of J&K to a handful of Kashmiri leadership will not help in solving the present impasse in the state. It said the people of Jammu and Ladakh are conscious of their political rights and interests hence they will not tolerate any surrender of the same to appease the secessionist Kashmiri leaders. The memorandum addressed to State Governor, Mr G C Saxena demanded immediate rescinding of the Government order granting admission to 55 students of Prime Medical College Badgam into the medical colleges of the state. Expressing serious concern over the prevailing power crisis the Front sought the immediate intervention of the Governor and demanded immediate cancellation of special lines to VIPs and some privileged people be disconnected. The demonstrators were led by Messrs Tilak Raj Sharma, convener of the Front and among the prominent persons who participated in it include Prof Virender Gupta, Yash Bhasin, Shamsher Singh, Ramesh Arora, H B Khajuria, Seneh Gupta and Kousar Naseem. Addressing the demonstrators in front of Raj Bhavan, Mr Sharma said the people of Jammu who have suffered total discrimination in every field of life are now fed up from the rulers of Kashmir. He alleged that Jammu has not only been deprived of basic facilities like water and electricity but the future of our wards is bleak as they are facing discrimination in every sphere of life through the hands of the State Government. He said the recent back door admissions in the medical colleges has exposed the Government which is totally biased towards a particular region. He said by selecting the candidates through backdoor in the medical colleges is an onslaught on the rights of the meritorious students of the region and this will not be tolerated at any cost. He asserted that the only viable solution to Kashmir crisis, weeding out of present militancy and end to over 50 year long discrimination which the region has been facing is to grant a separate statehood to Jammu. He said the people of Jammu and Ladakh regions be also included in the proposed dialogue to be held for resolving the Kashmir tangle. He urged the Governor to take personnel interest as the head of Constitution in resolving the basic problems of Jammu people. Mr Sharma also asked the people to make the Jammu bandh on January 15 a total success. Earlier addressing the processionists in different bazars enroute the speakers said when Jharkhand, Uttranchal and Chatisgarh have been granted the statehood what is harm in granting this status to Jammu.