Jammu evokes mix response to ‘bandh’ call

GJ Report
Jammu, Sep 18: The winter capital of the state today witnessed partial response to the band call given by the traders body Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party.
However, the CCI members also damaged two mini buses during the protests near Shalimar Chowk, which invited criticism from many bodies and organisations on the social media.
The CCI Jammu had called for a strike to press for its various demands including abolition of toll tax being charged by state government on goods at Lakhanpur and deportation of Rohingya Muslims, the NPP has given the call against the alleged “failure” of the BJP in addressing issues facing the region.
There was a partial closure of shops and market places in some areas of Jammu.
Public and private vehicles were also seen plying across Jammu, though there was a decrease in traffic flow.
Expressing resentment against the working of the BJP ministers and MLAs, Chamber of Commerce and Industries Jammu and Panthers Party called for one-day Jammu bandh.
The CCI members however, held protest demonstration against the “unaccountable” and “insincere” working of majority of ministers in the PDP-BJP coalition government.
Panthers Party activists led by chairman Harsh Devi Singh also took out protest rallies.
“The time has come when not only trade, industry, transport but every common man who is citizen of J&K needs to wake up against the unilateral attitude of the people occupying the seats of power and question the working of majority of ministers who feel that they are not accountable,” Rakesh Gupta, President CCI Jammu here told reporters.
“If our genuine demands are not met and if proper accountability mechanism is not activated then the Chamber and the people of Jammu shall have no option but to go for indefinite bandh soon after Navratras,” he said.
Other demands of the Chamber also included revocation of toll tax at Lakhanpur, slow pace of acquiring land for AIIMS, enquiry into shelving of artificial lake project on River Tawi, Master Plan for Jammu, Power Crisis, incentives to Industry, State Holiday on the Birth Anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh and illegal settlement of Rohingyas.
Government schools and offices witnessed thin attendances while private schools announced holiday as preventive measure.
The CCI however, claimed that complete bandh in Jammu to their call and said that the shutdown was completely peaceful and no violence took place and also nobody was forced to close down their business establishment.
“The Chamber did not enforce ‘Chaka-Jam’ because of requests from many organisations and people at large as it would cause inconvenience to everyone and allowed the Chemist shop to remain open so that the patients do not suffer for want of medicines,” said Gupta.
Meanwhile NPP activists also staged a protest at Dogra chowk in the heart of the city, burnt tyres on the road and raised anti-government slogans.
JKNPP chairman and former minister Hash Dev Singh said the BJP was indulging in “double-standards and duplicity” over the issues of deportation of Rohingyas and Article 35 A leading to public resentment against the saffron party.
Reports of protest by supporters of the bandh were also received on Jammu-Panthankote highway, officials said, adding the protest failed to have any impact on the movement of traffic on the highway.
Agitated JKNPP protestors carrying party flags, placards raised anti-BJP slogans and blocked Tawi bridge to express resentment and annoyance triggered by the Saffron Party’s gross sell out to its ally PDP which resulted in vehicular traffic jam for several hours.
Singh said that the people of Jammu region had voted BJP to power with an overwhelming mandate in the last Assembly elections.
He lamented that unfortunately none of the Saffron party’s Ministers/MLAs could rake up the voice of the people in the Assembly in the last three years which had immensely dented Dogra pride and honour.
He added that the BJP had despicably acquiesced all the Jammu related issues and the aspirations of the people before the Kashmiri leaders to enjoy ‘power ride’ whereas the JKNPP is the only party which had been persistently fighting for the cause of Jammu Pradesh in letter and spirit.
He lambasted the BJP for indulging in double standards and duplicity over the issues of Art 35A, abolition of Lakhanpur toll tax plaza and deportation of Rohingyas, Bangladeshis from Jammu which had led to huge public embitterment against the Saffron brigade.
Singh further said that the BJP took persistent U-turns on several core issues while discarding them after assuming to power which included delimitation of Assembly constituencies, Dogri satellite channel for Jammu, Dogra certificate for Jammu youth, declaration of holiday on Maharaja Hari Singh’s birth day and on Accession day, plots for border dwellers in safer zones, adequate compensation to Jammu farmers, State subject rights to WPRs, adequate one time settlement package to DPs of PoJK, State subjects and property rights to children of daughters of J&K married outside state, equitable share to Jammu region in employment and allocation of funds, 5 percent vertical reservation for ex-servicemen and martyrs families, abolition of Custodian Department and ownership rights to the occupants, 33 percent reservation to Women in J&K Legislative Assembly.