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Intellectual Forum meets Manmohan Sigh panel
Favours Autonomous Regional Councils, national consensus on J&K

Jammu, September 11, (Scoop News)-Jammu Intellectual Forum has demanded Autonomous Regional Councils for all three regions of Jammu and Kashmir to put an end to perpetual regional discrimination against Jammu.
A 14-member deputation of the Forum favoured this type of constitutional set up for Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir regions during its 40-minute meeting with Dr. Manmohan Singh headed Congress Policy and Planning Group here last evening. Headed by K B Jandial IAS (Retd) former member of J&K PSC, it comprised retired civil servants, academicians, ex- servicemen, businessmen, media persons and social activists representing cross section of Jammu society.
Expressing deep concern over discrimination to Jammu by successive Governments, Jandial asked Congress party to initiate a process for consultations with other parties and evolve a constitutional arrangement of autonomous regional councils for each region that will leave no scope of discrimination. He warned that Jammu’s anger on discrimination has reached to a saturation point and if not addressed urgently it would lead to disastrous consequences. Giving data of five years plans from 1992 to 2007, he said Jammu despite having more than 10,000 sq km area, got Rs 300 cr fewer funds than Kashmir excluding Ladakh. Sector-wise Rs 916 cr were spent during these 15 years in Kashmir against Rs 700 cr in Jammu. On the other hand Jammu contributes more in revenue than Kashmir.
The Forum expressed concern over the declining share of Jammu region in services and said that at present people have lost faith in recruitment agencies because of perceived discrimination against Jammu and a demand for separate Public Service Commission for Jammu is gaining support. The concept of Regional Council with separate service cadre can take care of the issue of fair recruitment.
Senior Advocate and activist, H C Jalmeria regretted that one reason for discrimination against Jammu was that no Govt followed a reasonable and truthful criterion for major decisions and mostly motivated by other Considerations. He quoted decision to create four districts in Kashmir to match the number of new districts for Jammu and in the process a tehsil was made the district. Why?
Political disempowerment of Jammu was another issue that remained in focus in the discussion and it was explained that by imposing constitutional ban on delimitation of Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies till 2026 Kashmir dominated political set up has enslaved Jammu’s political power. Former IFS officer and activist Mukherjeet Sharma explained in detail the constitutional fraud committed on Jammu on issue of delimitation in J&K and recalled that serious effort was made during Azad’s rule to undo this injustice but could not get enough support in the Assembly.
Former Information Commissioner and former HOD of Law Deptt, Jammu University, Prof. S K Sharma explained the constitutional importance of Article 370 and Article 35A in legal perspective and opined that these provisions are good for the State. He, however, stressed the need for evolving domicile certificate to address the problem of non-state-subjects.
The Forum, however, apprised the Congress panel that popular sentiments in Jammu are against Article 35A and must go as the people consider it as another barrier in the process of J&K’s full integration of with India.
Jandial said that the Forum’s meeting with the panel has different meaning. It seeks to change of the political narrative on J&K at national level. Neither the entire State is on the boil on separatist movement nor does it want to have separate identity. Jandial said each region has different aspirations, while Kashmir stands for separate identity, Jammu and Ladakh are for complete integration with India. For them India is their identity. While focusing their politics on Kashmir they should not consider Jammu and Ladakh as Kashmir’s appendages. Jammu has relevance and its positive role and stablising role should not be undermined as strong Jammu & Ladakh alone can defeat separatists’ designs.
Making a strong plea for having a political consensus on J&K, the Forum regretted different voices on State’s accession and creating doubts on its finality even after 70 years that actually amounts to pushing agenda of separatists and their mentor Pakistan. Calling it conditional or talking of Hong Kong model for J&K is condemnable. Naming erstwhile Doda district as “Chenab Valley” at official or political level is unfortunate as it tends to divide Jammu region which has so far stood firm on communal harmony and peace.
Former President of Chamber of Commerce and activist, Y V Sharma summed up the discussions and expressed the hope that this celebrated panel of Congress party would give urgent attention to Jammu’s grievances while formulating its policy on J&K and do justice with the people of this region. He said that equitable distribution of resources and development of all regions must be ensured and meet the aspirations of people.
The delegation included S C Sharma IFS (Retd), Dr. Yudhvir Gupta, Col.( Retd) Shiv Choudhary, S Narinder Singh, Sohail Kazmi, Dr. Yogeshwar Gupta, Vijay Sharma, Ravi Braroo
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