The unprecedented bandh in Jammu to protest against the shifting of AIIMS has sent a very strong message to governments both in Delhi, and in the state that the people of Jammu can’t be taken for granted particularly by the BJP. So strong was the bandh that even Home Minister Rajnath Singh expressed worry that this region was shut at a time when Modi government was celebrating one year in office.
The bandh was spontaneous across Jammu as people wanted to protest against the failure of the coalition to end discrimination. They also wanted to send a strong message to the local BJP leadership that pursuit of power while sacrificing the cause of Jammu would not be tolerated. Even government employees remained away from duty as the bandh got support from cross section of people.
Jammu bandh was voluntary, and this should also send the alarm bells ringing as shop owners, traders, industry, and private transport remained off across the city, and even in suburbs. All major towns in the region also remained closed as people decided to support the just cause of the region. In the morning members of Jammu bar association could be seen moving around the city exhorting people to observe complete bandh. Except the pilgrims to holy Katra, vehicles were not seen on the roads, and major markets, and shopping centres remained close to business.
The bandh was unique in the sense that Congress and Panthers workers were alongside social workers in enforcing the the strike call. The BJP which has been mostly involved in these activities having remained in opposition for long was missing in action as it is part of the ruling coalition. It was the Bar Association of Jammu and other social and trade organizations which have taken cudgels on behalf of the people of this region.
Sources said that complete hartal in Jammu has sent a very strong signal to the BJP as it coincided with the visit of Home Minister. The bandh remained peaceful, and there was no case of violence reported across Jammu. Kathua, Udhampur, Ramanagar, Reasi and Katra observed complete bandh against the shifting of AIIMS. The protesters in Jammu accused the saffron party of betraying the people, and appeasing the Kashmir Valley to remain in power, and to enjoy the benefits of being in government.