Nearly 20 political parties and social organisations on Wednesday held a meeting in Jammu to discuss separate statehood for the region, ANI reported. Jammu-based J&K National Panthers Party chairperson Harsh Dev Singh said the leaders present at the meeting expressed concerns over the alleged neglect of Jammu division of the Union Territory by the Narendra Modi government.
“The people living in 10 districts of Jammu believe that they are not getting anything,” Singh told ANI. “We are neglected in parameters of development, employment, allocation of funds. The focus of Delhi is on Kashmir or Ladakh and the nationalist residents of Jammu are getting ignored and therefore demand is being raised to grant statehood to Jammu.”
Singh added that more parties and organisations will join them in the coming days to empower Jammu and demand statehood. According to Greater Kashmir, the meeting was held to counter the recently-formed coalition, the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration. On October 15, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah had announced an alliance with Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti, People’s Conference and other regional groups to fight for the restoration of special provisions under Article 370, abrogated by the Centre on August 5 last year.
“Statehood to Jammu region is the ultimate solution,” Singh told the newspaper. “For how long Jammu will be punished for wrongs in Kashmir? There is no 4G, statehood, employment, or development; why we are being punished for wrongs in Kashmir.”
The leader said Kashmir and Ladakh should be given their “fair share”, but not at the cost of the Jammu region.
Dogra Sadar Sabha chairperson Gulchain Singh Charak said the meeting was convened to safeguard interests of Jammu. “It was decided to involve more political parties and make a common viewpoint,” he told Greater Kashmir. “We will take a unanimous decision on the existing situation because no one is speaking for Jammu. People presented their separate views like statehood for Jammu region and Kashmir as Union Territory. However, it is subject to approval of all prominent people of Jammu.”