The 35-day-long agitation by people of Nowshera for grant of district status has started spilling into other parts of the state, with Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) giving a 72-hour ultimatum to the state government to take a decision on the matter.
“Bahatar gantey toh 72 gantey. Uskey baad aap dekhengey ki koun sa tandav naatch hota hai. Ek ek mantri to ghar se nikal ke khaderengey. Yeh aap se vada kar ke ja rahey hein (Seventy-two hours means 72 hours and thereafter, you will see our action. We will bring every minister out of their houses and chase them away. We are making this promise to you before leaving the town),” said Chamber president Rakesh Gupta, while addressing the agitators at Nowshera.
While lawyers of the J&K High Court and subordinate courts suspended work backing the demand for district status, various Sikh organisations also extended their support to the agitators and offered them langer and medical facility during their march.
Gupta also warned politicians who spoke of trifurcation of the state, saying that Jammu and Kashmir would remain one entity and all the religions would continue to co-exist. He also appealed to the people to be wary of ministers who tried to divide them, saying such politicians had no right to stay in office. “We have conveyed this 72-hour ultimatum to the state government and the police,’’ he said, adding that they would be responsible for any untoward situation thereafter.
Meanwhile, various Sikh organisations came out in support of the people of Nowshera, Sunderbani and Kalakote sub divisions, saying the demand for district status and additional deputy commissioners was genuine. “As directed by Mahant Manjit Singh of Shiromani Dera Nangali Sahib, Poonch, we will provide langer and medical facility to agitating people of Nowshera, Sunderbani and Kalakote, irrespective of their numbers, and whenever they decide to march to Jammu to press for their demands,’’ said Sudershan Wazir, chairman of Sikh United Front. Leaders of various Sikh organisations like Shiromani Akali Dal, All India Sikh Students Federation, Youth Akali Dal, Sikh Naujwan Sabha and Transport Companies Association also seconded his views.
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Normal proceedings in state high court and subordinate courts was also disrupted as lawyers went on strike in support of the agitating people. Jammu Bar Association president B S Slathia asked the government to accept the demand for district status to Nowshera and post separate ADCs at Kalakote and Sunderbani before it was too late. All shops and other business establishments remained closed at Nowshera. In Kalakote, people also observed a bandh.