India: Responsible for Burning J&K?


Recently, for the first time in the history of independent India that there was a giant movement in the Jammu area of boundary state of Jammu & Kashmir in India. Unfortunately now it has been spread in the Kashmir valley too. The reason, being the allotment of a waste 7 unoccupied land in the Jungle, not more than a football ground to the Amarnath shrine Board and after that to take it back by J&K government.

In a simple glance, this issue does not seem so important that it deserves to have a space of simple news in newspapers. But this simple looking news has taken such a big appearance that some people are worried that it might not take the form of a communal disturbance or of a civil war. Some political parties are trying to use it as a step upward to reach the power in the country. But the secular and liberal citizen of Jammu & Kashmir along with the whole country is looking eagerly and helplessly to these steps of communal and separatist leaders.

Author Tanveer Jafri on his way to holly Amarnath shrine A file photo

Let us have a glance at the issue regarding this pity piece of land. India is heading speedily towards its destination of becoming a developed country by 2020. All the areas of development and economic progress are being recognized and being modernized. The country is also progressing in the area of tourism. Millions of rupees have been spent for the development of tourism especially in Jammu and Kashmir. To complete the process of development wherever needed, government is acquiring land in the country for this purpose. A step in this regard is the allotment of this small piece of land to the Amarnath Shrine Board. It is for the two or three which is about 39.88 hectares of forest land to the months of the year just for the convenient of the Amarnath pilgrims during the annual Amarnath religious Journey. For the rest of the 9 months, this plot of land will remain unused and useless as it is there during the year.

The former governor of Jammu & Kashmir S.K.Sinha has signed an allotment order to give this useless land to the Amarnath Shrine Board on the recommendation of the state government. The alliance government of Jammu and Kashmir comprising of peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has jointly gave this land to the Amarnath Shrine Board for making its use in the days of holly Amarnath religious journey. PDP first of all, favored this decision and after that on this issue in a dramatic way drew back its support from the government. After that there was political trouble in the state. President rule imposed in the state. There was a demonstration by the extremist and separatist powers in the Kashmir valley firstly to take back this small piece of land from the Amarnath Shrine Board. As a result on seeing the condition being critical the newly appointed state governor N.N.Vohra has to take this decision to take back this piece of land from Amarnath Shrine Board.

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What happened, looking at the coming elections of Jammu & Kashmir assembly in the way PDP tried to win the Muslim vote bank similarly other communal powers also become active. As PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti. Made it a step to get the power of state, in the same way Bhartiya Janta party intensified its attempts to make it a national issue. The Hindu organization Rashtriya Sawyam sewak Sangh (RSS) that is a patron organization of Bhartiya Janta party and as has been pleading to divide Jammu & Kashmir in 3 parts for a long time, got a golden chance in it. There was an attempt to spread communal hatred based on this issue. The Muslim colonies and holy places were attacked at several places in the Jammu region. But the secular structure of Jammu did not let the spread this communalism. Whereas communal forces tried to destroy the Muslim colonies but liberal Hindus did the work to save those Muslim colonies in Jammu.

One point here is noteworthy about the holly shrine of Amarnath. It is known by all of India and even the world. Muslim gurger was the first man to have a holy look of shivling made be snow in the Amarnath cave about 200 years ago. This Muslim first of all informed their Hindu brothers about the formation of Shivling. Even today the members of the Muslim Gurger family have an important role over the holly Amarnath cave. This Gurger family has its complete devotion for this holy place. That is why the people of Jammu & Kashmir came on roads for their demand of returning this piece of land to the Amarnath Shrine Board. During these demonstrations Gurger community also came on the road demanding that this piece of land should be returned to the holly Amarnath Shrine Board.

On the issue of this controversial land the central government is now active. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called an all party meeting in this connection. It is hoped that there will be an early solution of this issue. But all the people of the country may be from the Hindu community or Muslim community must understand the ill will of political leaders and political parties. If PDP and other separatist parties of Kashmir valley is looking forward to the coming assembly election of Jammu & Kashmir proposed to be held in October, similarly Bhartiya Janta Party is also looking at 2009 Parliament elections. These parties want to make it an issue in the coming elections for communal polarization. But it was comfortable to see that the demonstrations in Jammu region have not been solely guided by any political party but the demonstrators were having a national flag in their hands. It is better that secular and liberal people from all political parties of the Kashmir valley should come forward and devote for allotting this controversial waste and unoccupied land in the forest to the Amarnath shrine board. This is a regard to the Hindu feelings and just for the convenience of the pilgrims of Amarnath journey. Such behavior of tolerance will spread the communal harmony between the Hindus and the Muslims through out the country. Otherwise the parties that have the thoughts of BJP, PDP & Hurriat conference will use such issues as a base of their elections and spread hatred between the two communities.

Author Tanveer Jafri