The Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti spearheading the 37-day agitation in Jammu expressed disappointment at being left out of the all-party meeting called by the Prime Minister on Wednesday to find a solution to the raging crisis in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Samiti has been mobilising protestors to demand that the 100 acres transferred to the shrine board and then withdrawn, be returned to build facilities for pilgrims headed for the Amarnath cave shrine in Kashmir.
The disappointment was voiced by Samiti convenor Leela Karan Sharma as one person was killed in Jammu when the army opened fire on a swelling crowd of protestors in the southern district of Kathua.
“This is yet another manifestation of the fact that the Centre listens only to Kashmiri leadership and not to the people of Jammu," Sharma said.
Drawing a contrast between the agitation in the Valley and the protests in Jammu, Sharma said all communities were involved in seeking restoration of the land to the board. He said the government had “meekly surrendered to the separatists and their agitation”. The people of Jammu and their aspirations have been taken for granted.
As the protests in Jammu continued unabated, the Valley observed a complete shutdown called by the Hurriyat Conference in a bid to preempt the PM’s all-party meet.
In a related development, eight members of the shrine board resigned to facilitate its reconstitution with eminent local persons. The resignations were submitted to Governor N.N. Vohra, the chairman of the shrine board.
All Parties Hurriyat Conference (Mirwaiz) said in Srinagar that the Hindus of Jammu were welcome to secede from the state if they were not comfortable with the majority community.
“We believe in Jammu and Kashmir as one unit. But if people of two-and-a-half districts of Jammu (Jammu, Kathua and half of Udhampur) are not willing to remain with the rest of the state, they are free to go their way,” Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the Hurriyat Conference said. The Mirwaiz said the people of Jammu “cannot take the whole state hostage”.
He said the Jammu agitators were selectively targeting the people of the Valley and Muslims of the Jammu region. “They have enforced an economic blockade of the Valley. They are attacking Muslims and their property in the Jammu region. They want to impose their supremacy over us,” he said. “If they want a separate Dogra Desh, we will not resist it.”