JAMMU: Jammu people have all along stood by Bharatiya Janata Party, when in the opposition and when in the government, not necessarily because of its ideological flavour but, of course, for its commitment to the nation. Patriotism is core of Jammu and it is synonymous to the Duggar land which has sacrificed innumerable warriors in defence of the nation-on borders and in the hinterland, especially in forward areas.
Jammu’s tryst with nationalism should not have been taken as a weakness, as the BJP tends to do. It took its strongest constituency for granted while partnering the government in the former state with PDP by willingly remaining mute to Jammu interest getting slaughtered at the hands of the Kashmir centric and Delhi pampered rulers for nearly three years. This was the time when Jammu got worst ever raw deal because of the BJP factotums who failed to assert in upholding Jammu pride because of their lust for power and money. They behaved shamelessly in playing second-fiddle to those who they now call as anti-nationals.
Beat Jammu syndrome got yet another drubbing when the largest state bequeathed by the Dogra rulers got fragmented into pieces and rechristened as Union Territories-ironically by the BJP itself in August last year. As if it was not enough, hammer was hit hard again the other day by notifying the domicile laws, which restricts the exclusive rights of bonafide resident of Jammu and Kashmir to level IV non-gazetted posts, inferring that teachers, lecturers, doctors, engineers, IT professionals and officers from lower to upper rungs in the civil and police administrations could be anybody from any state of the country. There would have been perhaps little grouse over this, if employees selected to ‘open category’ posts from all over the country could be deployed all across the Union Territory. That is not going to happen because of the security scenario in Kashmir, which will not change much in years to come. Hence the choice of such selectees from outside will fall on the peaceful Jammu province. And, wielding influence of their parents, who might have served here in one or the other senior capacity in the government, they will get themselves fixed at the places of their choice, thus eating up the share of Jammu youth, who have suffered in every regime and every decade since accession of the former state with India in 1947 and even before.
This is catch 22 situation for educated unemployed youth of Jammu. They have nowhere to go. And blame for all this goes to the BJP which failed to gauge the pulse and appreciate the fall out of its decision, notwithstanding assurances held out by the so-called big wigs of the Jammu BJP.
On August 8, 2019-three days after the revocation of Article 370 and Article 35A by Parliament-Nirmal Singh, former Deputy Chief Minister and then Speaker Legislative Assembly, had observed that not more than six per cent of people (from Jammu) had government jobs earlier as 90 per cent of these went to Kashmir residents. “Now (after J&K becoming a Union Territory) there will be more opportunities for all (meaning Jammu as well)”, he had said, adding that “special privileges were only for few political families and the people of Jammu, Ladakh, Gujjars, Bakerwals, Valmikis were discriminated”. So far so good, as far as the concern for Jammu was concerned! However, what Jammu will get now after the proclamation of Domicile Law?
Similarly, Minister of State in PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh had stated, as latest as on February 22, 2020 while addressing a funcition organized by IIM in the national capital, “The Domicile Act is coming very soon, which will be immediately followed by Land Act and other rules … every law will be enacted one by one in J&K to protect the interests of land owners and unemployed youth”.
Now what will be the take of the two senior leaders Nirmal Singh and Dr Jitendra Singh after enactment of the domicile law? The other leaders, down below, had been boasting of having prevailed upon the central leadership to safeguard the interests of the Jammu and Kashmir youth. What happened to those assurances? The BJP leaders from Jammu, it seems, are not being provided any fodder by the high command, which is why they have been reduced as paper tigers back home. This was amply evident during ‘Abolish Saroor Toll Plaza Stir” in October-November last when Dr Jitendra Singh and Pradesh President Ravinder Raina had boasted about having taken up the issue with Minister for Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari for abolition. But not only Saroor, the Lakhanpur Toll Plaza continues to add up the miseries of Jammu people.
Jammu and Kashmir is set to fill up over 84,000 vacancies, as per information given in Parliament during just concluded session. Of these 61,927 non-gazzetted and gazetted posts would be open for all categories as notified in the new domicile law. How much share will the youth of J&K in general and Jammu in particular clinch is anybody’s guess.
This is worrisome situation that has started causing ripples in Jammu BJP. The ball is now in its court and the people will just be watching. Jammu BJP leaders better walk the talk.