Srinagar, 6 September: The highlight of the meeting between the all party delegation an various representatives from Jammu was the clamour for separate statehood.
Independent MLA Pawan Gupta submitted a memorandum demanding separate statehood for Jammu. According to the Tribune, his demand was seconded by Chamber of Commerce and Industries (CCI) president Rakesh Gupta.
“We want peaceful and constitutional settlement of the Kashmir issue. Though our prime demand is trade incentives and compensation for losses borne by Jammu traders, we will not be left with any other option but to bat for a separate Jammu if the Centre failed to address the issue,” said Gupta.
Gupta’s memorandum supposedly contained a suggestion to immediately put a stop to inciting announcements from mosques in the Valley that led to mayhem and chaos on Kashmir roads.
“We condemn Rajya Sabha MP Karan Singh’s statement that contained Kashmir-centric and pro-separatist sentiment. He should have voiced the concerns of Jammu,” he said.
The chairman of SOS International, Rajiv Chuni, an organisation of PoK refugees displaced in 1947, joined the chorus from outside the Jammu Guest House.
Ajay Chrungoo and Agnishekhar refused to meet the delegation, saying the eight minutes given to their organisation was a farce. They raised their demand for separate statehood for Jammu.
Bar Association of Jammu president Abhinav Sharma said though India got independence in 1947, it imposed slavery upon Jammu.
“We condemn going back to the pre-1953 status. We demand that all talks in Jammu and Kashmir should be within the Constitution of India,” he said.
He added that all political parties that had come up on the national or regional scene had been Kashmir-centric and Jammu had always been treated as slave.
Members of the traders and hoteliers’ organisation said tourism and trade in Jammu had been on ventilator since the opening of the Katra rail link.