Within less than 12 hours of its giving a call for Jammu bandh on Saturday to convey voice of dissent to the demand for Azadi emanating from troubled Kashmir Valley, the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday deferred the programme.
This, according to Chamber president Rakesh Gupta, followed communiqués from certain influential members of Kashmir’s civil society seeking reasonable time to convince stake holders other than government for participating in the intra regional dialogue. In view of this, Chamber defers its bandh call till further announcement, he added.
Earlier, the chamber had on Friday given a call for Jammu bandh tomorrow so as to send a loud and clear message that voices raised by stone pelters in the Valley do not represent the views of people living in all the three regions of the Jammu and Kashmir state. “The bandh is for peace and communal harmony and in protest against anti-national forces and the traitors who had been hell bent upon creating unrest in the state,” said president of the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Raskesh Gupta. “It is also to express solidarity with the soldiers who have been protecting us from anti-nationals,” he added.
“Looking at the political vacuum for the last so many days when no one was ready to take the initiative to defuse unrest in the Valley, we took the initiative and invited civil society of Kashmir for an intra regional dialogue two days ago. We clearly told them that they cannot represent Jammu and Kashmir State unilaterally as people of Jammu and Ladakh regions have different aspirations,” he pointed out.
However, they did not respond meaning thereby that they do not believe in intra-regional dialogue and that they want to impose their demands on the people of Jammu and Ladakh. “It shall not be acceptable to us,” the Chamber leader said, adding that they are calling for a voluntary bandh on Saturday to highlight their opposition to demands of secession emanating from the Valley.
Replying to a question, Gupta ruled out any economic blockade of Kashmir Valley. “We are not against each other. We have to co-exist in a peaceful atmosphere,” he said, appealing the law enforcing agencies to initiate action against those who were spreading rumours to provoke people.
The Chamber leader also sought action against state government employees who were not attending offices in the Valley. Putting the salary bill of employees at more than Rs 3,000 crore a month, he asked can government justify payment of this public money to unauthorized absentees sitting at home.
“There had been no day curfew by the government, only separatists had announced it. They could have done the same like people from Jammu and Ladakh had been attending their offices in the Valley,” he said, demanding the government dismiss those on unauthorized absence. The vacancies caused by them shall be filled up from among local youth who need employment and not stone pelting, he added.