Demand For Separate Jammu State Gets Louder

Demand For Separate Jammu State Gets Louder

1 August 2013
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Dinesh Manhotra

Jammu: As the civil society stepped up its campaign against “perpetual discrimination” with the Jammu and Ladakh regions by the successive state governments, Jammu-based parties, especially the BJP, has been facing pressure to support the demand for the trifurcation or reorganisation of the state. While as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Panthers Party, Jammu State Morcha, Dogra Front, Shiv Sena and Jammu Mukti Morcha have openly supported the demand for the statehood for Jammu, the BJP, which is the biggest political force in the region, is still in a dilemma as the party leadership is hesitating to openly support the demand. Various groups which owe their allegiance to the BJP have already kick-started a campaign for a separate Jammu state. The BJP leadership has decided to take permission from the high command before taking a final decision on the issue. “People of Jammu are raising the demand for statehood due to perpetual discrimination against them,” said Jugal Kishore Sharma, state president of BJP. Sharma, however, refused to openly support the demand. Sources in the BJP said the grass-roots level workers were exerting pressure on the state leadership to support the demand for the trifurcation of the state to end discrimination against the Jammu region. During the NDA tenure, the BJP had rejected the demand for the trifurcation of the state but the party had supported the regional council status for the Jammu region with constitutional and administrative powers. “There is a feeling among the BJP leadership that the BSP and the Panthers Party would encash the pro-Jammu sentiment by supporting the trifurcation demand so there is pressure on local leaders to support the demand,” a source said. Coming out openly in support of the statehood for Jammu, the BSP has decided to take up the issue in Parliament. “We will take the statehood fight to its logical conclusion,” state president of the BSP Tulsi Dass Langeh told The Tribune. He said the discrimination against people would end only by granting statehood to the Jammu region. The Jammu State Morcha, a group of intellectuals, today argued that the trifurcation of J&K was in the national interest as well as in the interest of all three regions of the state. “It will end the inter-regional tension, allow sound polity to develop on purely economic and welfare issues. All three regions would feel satisfied with their political aspirations fulfilled. It shall free Jammu and Ladakh from the Kashmiri domination and pressures. The area of conflict and militancy shall remain confined to some parts of the Valley alone. It shall keep Jammu and Ladakh insulated from the influence of militancy and that of secessionist elements of the Valley,” a JSM leader stated, while addressing a joint press conference. The Citizen Forum, another group of intellectuals, stated that the mutual regional distrust among Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, with complaints of perpetual discrimination against Jammu and Ladakh were the root cause for voices of reorganisation of the state. The Jammu Province People Forum, a conglomeration of various social, political and religious organisations, today cautioned that the continuous discrimination against the Jammu region would force the people to intensify their struggle for a separate statehood.