Sunday, August 31, 2008
At a crowded press conference at Government Guest House in the wee hours here this morning, Dr. Bloeria and Convenor of the Samiti, Mr. Lila Karan Sharma announced the details of the agreement.
Dr. Bloeria said that the government has requested the Samiti to call off their proposed rally for today.
Following is the text of the joint statement issued at the press conference:
1. 'The Shri Amarnathji Yatra, which has been going on for many centuries, is a shining symbol of communal harmony and brotherhood in Jammu & Kashmir and reflective of the State's composite heritage. The Yatris have been welcomed with open arms by the people of both Jammu and Kashmir Divisions and all required facilities have been made available for them. Sadly, certain decisions of the State Government relating to the Yatra created misunderstandings which led to controversy and agitation and loss of many precious lives. Apart from the damage to property, there has been a colossal loss to the State's economy in different sectors like transport, trade, industry, horticulture and tourism.
2. 'The Yatra to Shri Amarnathji Shrine has traditionally benefitted a large number of local residents, many of whom have crucial dependence on this annual pilgrimage for their livelihood.
3. 'There has been no occasion in the past on which the State Government has failed to provide the required support for the conduct of the Amarnathji Yatra. On the contrary, the extent and nature of governmental support to the Yatra has been progressively enhancing, from year to year.
4. 'In view of the need to seek a peaceful resolution of the fundamental issues, to settle all existing doubts and clarify the continuing responsibility of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir had constituted, on 6 August, 2008, a four-member Committee comprising:
Dr. S. S. Bloeria, Advisor to Governor
Justice (Retd) Shri G. D. Sharma
Prof. Amitabh Mattoo, Vice Chancellor, University of Jammu
Shri B. B. Vyas, Principal Secretary to Governor and Chief Executive Officer, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board
5. 'The Committee held three rounds of discussions with the four-member Committee nominated by the Shri Amarnathji Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (SAYSS) which comprised:-
Shri Tilak Raj Sharma
Brig (Retd) Suchet Singh
Prof. Narinder Singh
Shri Pawan Kohli
6. 'The Governor has also held discussions with the leaders of political, social, religious, academic and other organizations in the Kashmir Valley. The predominant view, emerging out of the consultations, is that the Amarnathji Yatra, which is a centuries old tradition of J&K's rich composite heritage, will continue to be welcomed and supported by the people of Kashmir, in every possible way. It was also felt that while the Shrine Board could continue to use the land, as in the past, for Yatra purposes, nothing should be done to alienate or transfer the land. While an assuring convergence of views has emerged, the Governor is committed to continuing the consultative process to ensure against any remaining misunderstanding whatsoever on an issue which has earlier led to serious misperceptions and grade human and economic loss.
'Based on detailed discussions and deliberations held in the recent weeks, the following framework of action for resolving the issue relating to the use of land for the period of Yatra by the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, at Baltal and Domail, has been agreed to:-
A. 'The State Government shall set aside for the use by Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, exclusively, the land in Baltal and Domail (Compartment No. 63/S, Sindh Forest Division) comprising an area of 800 kanals, traditionally under use for the annual Yatra purposes.
B. 'The proprietary status/ownership/title of the land shall not undergo any change.
D. 'The Board shall use the aforesaid land for the duration of the Yatra (including the period of making the required arrangements and winding up of the same) for the purpose of user by various service providers according to its needs and priorities.
'The aforesaid land shall be used according to the Board's requirements, from time to time, including for the following:-
i. 'Raising of temporary pre-fabricated accommodation and toilet facilities by the Board;
ii. 'Establishment of tented accommodation by private camping agencies (locals, permanent residents of the State);
iii. 'Setting up of the shops by shopkeepers (locals, permanent residents of the State);
iv. 'Facilities for Ponywallahs and Pithuwallahs;
v. 'Provision of healthcare and medical facilities;
vi. 'Setting up of free Langars by private persons and groups which are licensed by the Board;
vii. 'Facilities for helicopter operations/ parking of vehicles;
viii. 'Arrangements of security by local police/para-military forces and other security agencies as per the arrangements in place here-to-fore; and
ix. 'Undertaking measures relating to soil conservation, land protection and preservation of ecology.
2. 'It has further been agreed that the Board shall continue to remain responsible for the overall arrangements of the Yatra on both the routes during the Yatra period, including all arrangements as mandated under the provisions of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Act, 2000 A.D.
3. 'Apart from the above, the Committee set up by the Samiti had, during the course of discussions, presented a fourteen-point "Charter of Demands" for consideration by the State Government. The main demands relate to withdrawal of criminal cases against various persons during the period of agitation, provision of compensation to the families of the deceased and to the injured and working out of appropriate packages of financial assistance to compensate losses of the transport sector, trade and industry, horticulture sector, hoteliers and tourist operators. The State Government has agreed to examine all these demands in an appropriate manner on time-bound basis.
4. 'In particular, as regards the registration of criminal cases against various persons during the period of agitation, it is agreed that all cases of non-serious nature which shall mean bailable and compoundable will be withdrawn. The remaining cases will be reviewed, on the merits of each case, by a Committee headed by Shri Anil Goswami, Principal Secretary (Home) within 60 days. Till the completion of this process, no action will be taken in such cases. Also, specific allegations of atrocities on agitators, based on prima-facie evidence, could also be looked into by this Committee.
5. 'Ex-gratia relief will be extended in favour of the next of the kin of the deceased and in favour of permanently disabled and the injured in all cases covered under the existing rules of the State Government.
6. 'Further, a Working Group, under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary will address all compensation issues relating to both Jammu and Kashmir Divisions and the Central Government will be approached for extending enabling financial support to the State Government for this purpose within a period of two months. To make the exercise meaningful, one representative from each of the affected sectors will be associated with the deliberations of the Working Group.
7. 'The Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board will be reconstituted keeping in view the provisions of the Act and the past precedents.
8. 'It is agreed that the Law Department in the State Government will examine the issue of disposal of LPA in terms of the understanding made hereinabove within one month.'
(Lila Karan Sharma) (Dr. S. S. Bloeria)
Convener Advisor to Governor of J&K
Monday, August 25, 2008
The attacks are well planned and led by leaders of PDP and National Conference, both of which claim to be secular when the cause is Muslim and pertains to Kashmiris. But both parties maintained criminal silence, when the issue of Hindus cropped up and hundreds of shops of Hindu community, business establishments and vehicles have been looted and burnt by muslim mobs.
None of the secular media had the gumption to mention that muslims were attacking hindus and the administration failed miserably to protect them. Even as media is busy projecting the Kashmir cause and freedom for valley it should also look into the crimes being perpetrated upon the minority Hindus in India's only muslim majority state.
A Tribute to Jammu
Hindus attacked in Poonch, Kishtwar; Administration fails to protect hindu minority in India's only Muslim majority state.
Lambasting National Conference (NC) and (PDP) leadership for maintaining criminal silence over atrocities on Hindus in Poonch and Kishtwar districts, Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti today said that riots in these two districts exposed their communal faces. Direct involvement of senior NC and PDP leaders in Kishtwar and Poonch riots has confirmed that these two outfits represent only Muslim community and their claims of representing all communities and sections are farce.
Involvement of Farooq Ahmed Mir, zonal president of PDP has been already established in Kishtwar riot while as in Poonch PDP it is again PDP leaders who instigated the mob to attack business establishments, shops and houses and temples of Hindus. PDP leader Imtiyaz Bandey, who is zonal president of the party, was leading the mob which was responsible for attacking Hindus.
Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti demanded immediate arrest of these two PDP leaders to revive shattered confidence of minority Hindus and deployment of adequate forces in these two districts to control the rioters who are still indulged in selective attacks. Samiti also demanded ex-gratia relief for the affected families and action against Deputy Commissioner Poonch and SSP Poonch Basant Rath, who his ineffectiveness personified.
Since beginning of this mass movement of Jammu people, Kashmir centric political parties like PDP and NC are hell bent upon to create communal divide in the Muslim majority areas of region. Following their failure to accomplish their nefarious designs, PDP and NC leaders have directed their cadre in Muslim dominated areas to instigate mob to attack minorities in their respective areas. Kishtwar and Poonch riots have exposed that these political parties have hidden communal agenda to terrorize minorities of and spoil the secular fabric of Jammu region.
It is regrettable that instead of removing misconceptions created by certain vested interests, PDP and NC leaders are furthering giving irresponsible statement to divide people on communal lines. Statement of NC president Omar Abdullah in a discussion on a TV Channel in which he termed an accident case as victim of communal violence exposes the game plan of these parties. The truck driver who was referred at AIIMS by GMC Jammu on a government ambulance was an accident case which took place at Lakhanpur but has been stating that the victim received injures as he was beaten and connected the incident with the so-called economic blockade.
Taking serious note of the utterances for former Ram Sharma who has defended controversial decision of the government to cancel allotment to land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board at Baltal, Sangarsh Samiti termed Mangat Ram Sharma's statement as insult to the people of this region. It maintains that Congress leadership has played with the religious sentiments of the people of this region and responsible for present turmoil of Jammu. The people of Jammu would never spare these leaders for their backstabbing. , Mangat
Sangharsh Samiti appealed people of Jammu for social boycott of Mangat Ram Sharma, Gulchain Singh Charak and Mula Ram for rubbing salt on the wounds of Jammu people.
Mangat Ram's statement clearly indicates that appointment of N N Vohra as Governor followed by hasty decision of cancelling allotment of land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board was a deep rooted conspiracy hatched by UPA and Azad led government in Jammu and Kashmir.
Meanwhile a meeting of Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti was held today to take stock of the preparation of the forthcoming rally to be held at Parade Ground Jammu on August 27, 2008 at 4 pm. All units of Sangharsh Samiti of Jammu and Samba districts have been asked to mobilize maximum number of people to make this rally a historical event in the history of Jammu and Kashmir.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Indian politicians, scholars, intellectuals and journalists have confused J&K with Kashmir alone, forgetting that this false interpretation has marginalised other communities and made Kashmiris think that they can get away with anything in Kashmir.
HATS OFF to Arundhati Roy, Jug Suraiya and Prem Chand Sahajwala for coming forth to speak about the plight of the Kashmiris and ask the Indian government to think about ending its imperialism in Kashmir Valley.
Jug Suraiya in his article ‘India Minus K-word’ in the Times of India dated Aug 20, 2008 writes ‘what if he (the separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani) and his followers were to adopt the strategies of non-cooperation and satyagraha, which were used (by Gandhi) to gain independence’?
The same was quoted by Sahajwala to further prove his point that Indian presence in Kashmir has only brought suffering to the people. Times of India, in it’s August 21 editorial, has again questioned the Indian presence in Kashmir and wants the country to give freedom to the poor Kashmiris, who have been fighting for freedom for last sixty years.
The general view-point is that India should give freedom to Kashmiris and if they want to go to Pakistan, let them join that country. But who are Kashmiris, what do they want, where do they live, is Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) equal to Kashmir alone? Do people have an answer to these questions?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
After days of Jammu bashing and pro-pakistan and separatist reporting, the Times of India at last realised that it's credibility was at stake. Now to ensure that there is little bit of fair reporting, TOI has sent a reporter to Jammu, who has filed a story on what is actually happening in Jammu.
Hats off to Mohua Chatterjee for telling the world that agitation in Jammu is not communal that it is not against any community or religion, but it was against the imperialist ideology of Kashmiris. Time and again the national media and Indian intellectuals see the problems in Jammu and Kashmir not of the entire state but only of Kashmiris, for Kashmiris and by the Kashmiris.
Jammu and Kashmir does not comprise of Kashmir alone and many in India does not know the distance between Jammu and Srinagar, the heart of Kashmir valley is 300 kilometres.
Even though Times of India has made amends but again the edit page call for going back to the pre-1953 position and giving full autonomy to Kashmir. But why does not the Times call for giving the state of Jammu and Kashmir pre-1947 position and let Jammu and Kashmir be free.
Times have changed, so instead of having the Dogra rule let us be given autonomy in both Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
People of Jammu are fed up with the Union policies and appeasement of Kashmir and also discrimination against Jammu. Despite holding the Indian flag high, making sacrifices for India and remaining a bulwark against the Islamic and separatist forces, Jammu has got nothing in return except rebuke and disdain.
It is high time that India realise that interests of Jammu can not be sacrificed for kashmir and if this continues, it is likely that people of Jammu will also revolt against the Indian union.
But, the Sangharsh samiti and the people of Jammu must realize that this is the time of reckoning as such Jammu should not repeat the mistakes committed by Kashmir. Kashmir valley has been burning for the last 20 years, bandhs, hartals, guns, violence and killings have brought nothing to the people there.
As such Jammu has to understand the psyche of India and people have to realize the fact that strategic interests are far more important to the government of India than the human rights of Jammu or the religious values or dignity of Hindus
Government of India can not lose Kashmir and this is the reason that despite 50 days of violent protests in Jammu, the Home Minister, the Prime Minister and the Indian media appear to take the side of Kashmiris. This surprises the people of Jammu, they ask how could India reward secessionists at the cost of nationalists.
Although BJP has put it as a battle of nationalists Vs Separatists in J&K, but believe me as soon as it gets power, it will conveniently forget Jammu, forget abolition of 370 and forget the Uniform Civil Code. Though BJP has done well to support the cause of Jammu , but it has led to the agitation being branded communal but pseudo-secularists have their own compulsions.
The Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti will have to understand that anger of Jammuites is a result of 60 years of slavery and Amarnath land is a means and not an end in itself. Samiti will have to incorporate the larger interests of the people of Jammu that include political equality, equality in development, infrastructure and everything dealt by the state.
It is high time Jammu demands a separate autonumous regional body on the lines of Ladakh Council within the framework of Jammu and Kashmir and India..And importantly the muslims, paharis, gujjars and budhists should be promised and assured equality in everything.
Let Kashmiris be free from India and Jammu and Jammuites get rid of the Kashmir stone, which has been tied to their necks for the ast sixty years. Agitating without strategising is of no use and our short and long terms goals should be achieved by the agitation.
Jug Suraiya points out that even after 60-years the government of India has not been able to coerce the Kashmiris into submission and this was the time to think in rational terms. While it is good that Indians at last are thinking about freeing Kashmir from slavery but they should also think of absolving the people of Jammu from the yoke of Kashmiri imperialism.
Suraiya should also tell where will the Kashmiri pandits live, when freedom is granted to Kashmir, which undoubtedly would be the abode of Islam. Would Hindus of Kashmir and Jammu and Budhists of Ladakh granted the status of Zimmis there. Will they need to pay Jizya.
The only problem with India is that the government, media and all politicians see Jammu and Kashmir through the prism Kashmir Valley alone. What Jug Suraiya does not know is that there a huge population of Paharis in Kashmir valley, who are dead against freedom to Kashmir or accession to Pakistan as majority of them are serving in Indian army.