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Time to tackle separatists in J&K firmly

In his front page editorial, “J & K: Elections are an antidote” (Sept 4), H.K. Dua has rightly attributed unusually long protests in Jammu to pent-up anger against prolonged discrimination and neglect in matters of employment, development, education, health and infrastructure.

Discrimination against the Jammu region is very real and must be addressed soon. Jammu’s population is 30 lakh as against the Valley’s 28 lakh but it has nine Assembly seats and one parliamentary seat less than Kashmir. Its contribution to the exchequer is 70 per cent, but road connectivity is only 23 per cent as against the Valley’s 52 per cent. Unemployment in the Jammu region is hopping at 69.5 per cent and its share in secretariat services is a meagre 15 per cent. Compare it with the Valley’s 30 per cent unemployment and you have the reason for unrest in Jammu. Per capita Central spending in J&K is three times more than a BIMARU state like Bihar!


The Amarnath land row would not have taken an ugly turn had the Centre and the state not taken hasty step of reversing the State Cabinet’s land allotment decision. The Ghulam Nabi Azad government missed an historic opportunity of giving firm and unambiguous signal to the separatists that it is the writ of the duly elected government that will prevail in J&K. Instead, they chose to succumb to the unjust demands of separatists, thus triggering a chain reaction.

It is time the leaders in Delhi realise that separatism in Kashmir needs to be dealt with an iron fist (and not with carrots) as is done elsewhere in the world.



Elections are the essence of the parliamentary system, which based on historical ties, India has imbibed from the UK. Timely, periodic elections provide the much-needed grist for the healthy sustenance of the same.

The popular government of the state was unhinged on the row over the land provided for Shri Amarnath pilgrims. Much hype was made of nothing by the separatists with the PDP’s connivance. Notwithstanding Shabana Azmi’s lament, India spends crores of rupees to help Muslims undertake the Haj pilgrimage.

The former Governor had done nothing wayward; his act was well intentioned. The separatists have been given enough space to assimilate and integrate into the mainstream politics. Instead of task forces, free and fair elections should be held to install a popular government.

Lastly, the term Kashmiriat stands reduced to a fallacious epithet with the hounding out of peaceful Kashmiri Pandits from their abodes by rabid fanatics.

V.I.K. SHARMA, Jalandhar


The Jammuites rightly grudge the Centre’s policy of appeasement of the Valley. I agree with Mr Dua that discrimination against Jammu should not remain unattended to far too long.

Separatists have to be told firmly that they can’t be allowed to have their hands in India and hearts in Pakistan. Instead of demoralising our security forces, as our Prime Minister did with his warning of “Zero tolerance of human right violations”, New Delhi should adopt a policy of “Zero tolerance for separatism”.

Separatist leaders should be moved to some location outside Jammu and Kashmir and proceedings for sedition initiated against them. No unit constituting the Indian Union can secede from India (Constituent Assembly Debates 43). Any soft approach towards separatism will only encourage the secessionists.

S. S. JAIN, Chandigarh


In the editorials, former Governor Lt-Gen S. K. Sinha (retd) has been made the target for the Jammu problem. But in reality, it is not so. In our democracy, the Governor is only a titular head. The real power vests in the Council of Ministers. The State Cabinet allotted the land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board. Why blame the Governor?

Is it a crime to provide facilities to Hindu pilgrims? So many facilities are provided to Haj pilgrims but no one raises any objection. They get a very huge subsidy which is not provided by any one of the 57 Muslim countries. They have been provided land for Haj houses, separate terminals etc. The Rajasthan government has recently allotted land for Haj House in a prime location near Jaipur Airport.

Separatists are working at the behest of ISI and Pakistan agents. The government should handle this problem with an iron hand. I was surprised to know that Omar Abdullah has said that they would not give even an inch of land to the Amarnath Board. Is the land his personal property? The government should immediately initiate proceedings for sedition against separatists who talk about dual currency, shelter for terrorists, support to SIMI, demand citizenship for Bangladeshis and so on. The government should implement the Sengupta Committee’s report which had recommended permanent structures at various sites on the Amarnath Yatra route so that people can take shelter whenever there is cold breeze.

Y. K. SHARMA, Advocate, Narnaul


The sudden upsurge of agitation and violence, first in the Valley and later in Jammu, seems to have taken everyone by surprise. Normalcy had almost returned in Kashmir to the extent that the Kashmir issue had been take off the list by UN and other countries. The Amarnath land issue was ignited by the separatists to bring to the center-stage their almost forgotten cause. The dithering of the authorities for two weeks provided the trigger.

New Delhi has firmly told Pakistan that everything can be discussed to solve the Kashmir issue except that borders cannot be redrawn. The government should tell the separatists of all hues — from Geelani to Mirwaiz to Mehbooba — that talks would be held only after the basic issue of J&K being a part of India is accepted.

The Sangh Parivar including the BJP has played a very unworthy role in instigating the agitation in Jammu for petty electoral gains. They have been well exposed by the Sangharsh Samiti as well as the media. There is need to stop the appeasement policy of the Valley at the cost of the Jammu region and to address various grievances of Jammu people.

As the 2002 elections were most fair and free and played a major role in silencing India’s critics, the elections must be held in time as aptly pointed out by Mr Dua.

Brig. H. S. SANDHU (retd), Panchkula

Welcome, belated though

The US decision to withdraw a part of its forces from the Iraqi cities by next summer pending full withdrawal by 2011 is welcome, belated though. It should never be too late or too difficult to enter into an agreement with a vanquished adversary.

It is heartening that Iraq is being consulted as regards the withdrawal of American troops after more than five years of occupation. The intention must obviously be to restore some peace and order in the war-torn Gulf country with an Uncle Sam-friendly government in place.

This is also to ensure that the paramount US objectives, political and economic, in the region are suitably met before the troops head back home. 



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