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Jammu boycotts state show

The official function at the Mini Stadium, Parade Grounds in Jammu was attended by a handful of government employees along with army personnel and their wives, reports Vikram Sharma.

india Updated: Aug 15, 2008 23:38 IST
Vikram Sharma

Independence day celebration in Jammu, perhaps, reflected the state of the city’s mind.

The official function at the Mini Stadium, Parade Grounds, was attended by a handful of government employees along with army personnel and their wives. But the one organised by the Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti saw thousands jostle for space at the historic Mubarak Mandi.

The complex reverberated with Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Bam Bam Bhole as Samiti convener Leela Karan Sharma exhorted the 50,000-strong crowd to “imbibe the occasion as ushering in an era of secular struggle of Jammuites against the Kashmir-centric separatist rulers of the state”.

“This is the historical place from where the Dogras declared the battle of independence against the British rulers and today, we all pledge for another war against the separatist and fundamentalist ideology of the rulers in the state as well as the Centre,” said Sharma.

The time has come for the people of Jammu to stand united for their cause and secular identity, he said. “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his speech, impressed for a united fight against terrorism. But he failed to address a simple cause of the people of Jammu who are protesting for restoration of their identity and dignity.”