Fight to finish: Need of the hour

via Source Link - published on July 31, 2008


ENOUGH WATER has flown down the river Tawi and enough blood has been spilled on roads but Vohra’s dictatorial administration is not moved. Jammuites have been crying hoarse for justice but nobody is listening. And all the while Omar is elated that his remarks have hit the right chords in Kashmir and so called secularists in India and to top it all our national media has maintained a criminal silence for the past one month since the agitation erupted in Jammu.

The maximum any national media, particularly print media, has done is to publish a 4cmX4cm picture along with a 5cmX4cm long news item in the front page news capsules while a routine frisking of Kashmiris in the Valley has found bottom spreads or front page top photo slots in most of the national dailies.

If the agitating youth have shown resentment towards national media, they are fully justified because the anger that is erupting like lava in Jammu has seen such discrimination for the past six decades. The journalists working in Jammu for the national print and electronic media can not escape the blame because they too have failed to convey the gravity of the situation in Jammu and the anger against the national media on Jammu streets to their headquarters.

The journalists in Kashmir valley worked out numerous ways to make the so called secular media bosses feel that Kashmir was burning and needs huge coverage. I have been a correspondent of a national daily and from a one column story, the same daily used to devote full page to Jammu in its regional section in 1995-96, when there was no concept of regional editions of national dailies in Jammu.

Anyway, media bias has been the fate of Jammuites for a long time now and New Delhi has always treated the nationalism of this region as inferior to Kashmir valley, which is evident from an article of Balraj Puri in which he has explained how Nehru wanted political boss from Kashmir and constitutional head from Jammu to keep Jammuites in good humour while Kashmir reaps the benefits of the governance.

When Lt Gen SK Sinha was humiliated by the People’s Democratic Part (PDP) and the Congress instead of giving a warm farewell, it were again Jammuites who realised his deep rooted nationalism and bade him a warm and tumultuous farewell from the state.

But for Vohra, Jammuites have displayed only anger because of his old loyalty with Hurriyat conference since the days of his being Centre’s interlocutor for talks with separatists.

It is this tilt in the policy of the new governor that Jammuites no longer hope for any justice from him and have rejected any talks with him.

As far as Vohra is concerned, he has come to this state with a proper brief from the Congress high command and that brief seems to be to crush the Jammuites with iron hand and use the velvet glove for Kashmiris, otherwise how can he justify the brutal force being used against Jammuites for a normal democratic way of protesting for their rights.

Why should administration impose curfew when it had permitted the condolence meet in memory of martyr Kuldeep Dogra and then shower ’lathis’ over people as if they were animals? Why should administration shirk from taking action against Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) ML Kaith instead of glorifying his misadventure (Kaith was SDPO Bakshi Nagar) when he swooped over the peacefully agitating Sangarsh Samiti members and snatched the body of martyr Dogra from them, dragged it on road, arrested his family members, bundled them in a waiting police van and took them to Bishnah some 25 kms from Jammu city. Kaith then hurriedly ordered for a pyre, poured kerosene oil, liquor and rubber tyres over the pyre and tried to burn it before dawn in total disregard to Hindu customs of not lighting the pyre before sunrise and after sunset. The police men also beat up his widow Shilpi in front of the pyre and tore her clothes and beat her up with gun buts and lathis.

However, later, local residents snatched the half brunt body and preformed last rites later in the day. Since then Jammu has been burning continuously over the issue. Why should administration not explain why Jammu has to bear the brunt of long power cuts even though huge electricity is being saved on account of the bandh and stoppage of every commercial activity in the region?

However, what Vohra’s administration can do is to order attachment of Kaith to police lines and reward him with a course in Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to vitiate the atmosphere in CBI when he gets opportunity to serve there.

Attachment of an officer is no punishment even though it is known that this kind of a heinous crime is punishable with 10 years of imprisonment. The administration should have suspended him on the day one and ordered a judicial probe besides asking the police force to go easy on protestors if at all Vohra wanted to win the hearts of Jammuites.

But to rub the salt over our injuries the Div Com and Inspector General (IG) have been terming the situation as well under control and justifying the desecration of Kuldeep’s body besides vowing to crush the agitation with an iron hand.

Jammuites must act fast and teach this brutal administration a lesson once for all that Jammuites will no longer accept the lolly-pops and want complete justice, which includes equal political power, more assembly seats, and above all a separate statehood for Jammu. The time is running out and administration is waiting for the day when Jammuites start disintegrating through the well architected moves of Vohra’s old diplomacy so that Jammuites are crushed again after corrupting a few Jai Chands among them.

Some Jai Chands have already initiated their indirect attacks by calling for a new body to spearhead the agitation or resenting the association of a particular political party in it forgetting that by this attitude they are only harming the cause of Jammu by playing into the hands of Vohra’s Kashmir policy.

Vohra is an old hand in pushing the Kashmiris cause at New Delhi and believing that he will do anything for Jammu is to live in a fool’s paradise. Kaith’s attachment and a course in CBI is just a tip of this biased iceberg of Vohra’s diplomacy.

The agitation has to go on and for this, the entire Jammu region has to bear the brunt for some time till we break the stiff backbone of the administration. Let’s motivate our youth, politicians, lawyers, journalists and everybody to join this first ever mass movement and achieve the desired goal. Let’s pledge not to let the sacrifice of martyr Dogra go waste.

While everybody is contributing his bit towards the agitation including the journalists the time has come for the journalists too to shun the cloak of pseudo-secularism and join their brethren in the field by at least taking out a silent march in the streets of Jammu to show our solidarity with the agitators who have been bearing the ’lathis’ of the Vohra’s administration for the past one month.

There is nothing wrong if journalists too come to streets wearing black badges to register their resentment directly; besides giving wide coverage to the ongoing agitation in Jammu because if the agitators win or loose, we journalists too will be affected. Let’s resolve to provide our whole hearted support to the agitators and achieve our desired goal of discrimination-free share in the governance and equal rights for Jammu region.

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