By Hari Om
The most inspiring aspect of the Sri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) land transfer issue is that the Jammu province has witnessed complete communal harmony despite repeated efforts by various quarters to create division between the Hindu and the Muslim communities there. The Muslims have been consistently criticising those opposed to the land transfer and have been extending their whole-hearted support-to Hindu protesters.
So much so, they are holding Press conferences and accusing the Kashmiri leadership for outraging Hindu sentiments in Jammu & Kashmir. The positive attitude of Jammu's Muslim community has simply demoralised fanatics and their fundamentalist 'secular' supporters in the State and elsewhere in the country.
Determined as they were, the people of Jammu province, cutting across party lines, observed bandhs and organised dharnas. It was a massive affair. In the meantime, a frightened and unnerved Government imposed Section 144. Not only this, the biased administration clamped curfew to keep people confined to their homes in order to weaken the demonstrations. Hundreds of people were arrested by the police and several suffered serious injuries.
But despite the Government's terror tactics the struggle continues under the banner of Sri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (SAYSS). The protesters claim that unless their two demands -- expulsion of Governor NN Vohra from the State and restoration of the land to the SASB -- are met, they will continue with their struggle.
The message that comes out from the mass upsurge in Jammu is that the people will now not allow New Delhi and Kashmiri politicians to play with their sentiments; they will not allow them to deprive them of their legitimate share in the State's polity and economy; and they will not allow New Delhi to strike any deal with Kashmiri leaders without taking them into confidence.
The authorities in New Delhi must remember that the people of Jammu are one of the most important factors in determining the State's political future and that it would be a fatal error to treat them shabbily or barter their interests in order to appease Kashmiri fanatics and separatist politicians. It is high time that New Delhi woke up to this reality.n
Source: The Pioneer, New Delhi