Agitation in Jammu and Kashmir: A study in contrast

21 08 2008

Source: TOI
JAMMU: The peaceful demonstrations in this otherwise bustling city, in stark contrast to the high decibel protests in Srinagar, said it all.

If the idea was to play on the contrast with Srinagar in communicating that they have been differentiated against, Jammu’s agitationists succeeded in sending across the message quite clearly. In prominence are community langars in every locality where daily wagers and the poor are being fed by households that can cook their meals even as the more than month-long bandh continues. The picture is one of bonhomie among citizens, irrespective of denomination.

And clearly, any attempt to suggest that a single political party has taken over the movement that the Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti has sustained for 53 days is clearly a non-starter. There is a rare unity to be seen in Jammu for a cause that seems to have built up over years of what the people here see as institutionalised neglect.

Also, there is a careful attempt to ensure that it does not take a communal turn. This was clear when a local BJP leader confided that a proposal by Baba Ramdev to join the movement by marching up to the Amarnath shrine with a contingent of sadhus had to be stalled, so that it did not create communal trouble and spoil the “legitimate demand” to allow the shrine board to use the adjacent land for pilgrims’ facilities.

Even BJP, which has taken up the Amarnath issue to build up a national level campaign against the ruling Congress for “offending the sentiments of Hindu pilgrims”, has had to redraw plans to participate in a rally organised by the Sangharsh Samiti.

In fact, BJP has called it “communication gap” between the two organisations. Going on the backfoot after being snubbed by Sangharsh Samiti chief Leela Karan Sharma, who denied there were any plans for a rally, leave aside any invitation to BJP leaders L K Advani and Rajnath Singh to participate, the party’s state president Ashok Khajuria told TOI , “The Sangharsh Samiti is the last word on this movement and BJP is only one among its 42 member units and hence will follow what the Samiti says.”

Interestingly, a good number of field level National Conference and PDP workers in Jammu have joined the Samiti. Surinder Singh Shinghari of NC, a corporator from the city’s Bakshinagar area, has resigned from his party and post and joined the movement. He is not the only one.

It is not easy for a city that thrives essentially on trading and business activities to sustain complete closure of shops and business establishments for 53 days without having any idea as to how much longer they will have to take it. Leela Karan Sharma said, “We are ready to talk as equals to all – the Centre, Kashmiri leaders – but only if our core issue of allowing the High Court order on the land is reverted back to.”





Sri Sri calls for peace

13 08 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008 New Delhi

Expressing deep concern over the continuing violence on the Amarnath land issue in Jammu and Kashmir, renowned spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Monday appealed for peace in the state and urged people to exercise restraint.

Asking people not commit “blunder” by continuing with violent protests, the spiritual guru said, “the (state) government has committed a big mistake by first transferring the land to Amarnath Shrine Board and revoking the same later in face of protests.”

“Though people have the freedom to express their opinion and frustration, however violence is no solution,” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the exponent of Art of Living, said in a release.

He appealed to people to adopt non-violent ways of protest and maintain communal harmony.

In his bid to find an effective solution to the imbroglio, the release said, he has been in constant touch with leaders of different groups. He also had a telephonic conversation with Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra and hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in this regard.

Source : New Delhi (PTI)

<<<<<<

Source: Various

Jammu (J&K): Renowned spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on 12th August held wide ranging discussions in Jammu with different sections of people from Jammu and Kashmir to resolve the Amarnath Shrine imbroglio.

Sri Sri arrived from Germany in the wee hours and met with the representatives of the 32 organisations that make up the Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (AYSS), says a statement from Art of Living Bureau of Communication of The Art of Living International Centre (Bangalore).

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar discussing ways to resolve the Amarnath imbroglio with Muslim leaders in Jammu on Tuesday

He also met with the members of the Muslim Front Jammu, Bar Association, Sadhu Samaj, university professors and doctors. He gave a patient hearing to everyone and appealed for communal harmony and peace in the region. He assured them that justice would be done to them and asked them to be patient.

Advising against taking law into one’s own hands, Sri Sri said, “Dialogue is the only way to resolve the present crisis.” He added that in his interactions with the leaders in J&K, they have expressed that they also want a peaceful settlement of the issue.

“Jammu and Kashmir are like two eyes. If one is hurt, the other will also bleed,” he said. He termed the recent happening in J&K as most unfortunate. “The deep wounds and scars need to be healed fast,” he said. He asked the Centre to act fast and resolve the issue. Calling upon the administration to be impartial and give a human and healing touch, Sri Sri urged everyone not to harm women and children.

He underlined the need for the majority community to take responsibility of protecting the minority community. “Wherever Hindus are in majority, they need to protect the Muslims and vice versa,” he said.

Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar on wednesday said the civil society in Jammu and Kashmir should come forward for amicable resolution of the Amarnath land transfer issue.

“The civil society should come forward for resolution of the issue so that peace is restored in Jammu and Kashmir,” he told reporters after a meeting with hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani at his Hyderpora residence here.

He said efforts should be made to prevent the issue from being communalised and justice should be done to all.

Ravishankar is expected to meet chairman of moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Governor N N Vohra later today.

During the 15-minute meeting, Geelani said Muslims of Kashmir have never been against the Amarnath yatra and have been actively facilitating the annual Hindu pilgrimage for more than 125 years.