As many as 26 deputations from different areas of Jammu region representing different districts, sections of society, communities, tribes and identities on Saturday called on the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) here at Bathindi.
The meeting started at 11 am and concluded at around 5 pm. The meeting was attended by NC President Dr Farooq Abdullah, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Member Parliament Hasnain Masoodi, CPI (M) leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, former Minister and chairman J&K People’s Movement Javed Mustafa Mir, Awami National Conference Chairman Muzaffar Shah, NC Provincial President Devender Singh Rana and others.
Initially, National Panthers Party Supremo Bhim Singh met the PAGD leaders separately and discussed the political situation, while the Alliance leaders sought his support for the common cause.
“We should fight from one platform. We might have grievances with each other, but we are being put up against each other i.e. Jammu against Kashmir,” Mohammad Yousaf Tarigami said while referring to the discussion with the deputations and views expressed by the deputations from Jammu during interaction with PAGD.
“It was unanimously decided that PAGD will make a manifesto and it will include demand for Return and Rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir Valley. They will promote and seek 1% J&K budget allocation to the return and rehabilitation of KPs,” said Satish Mahaldar, a Kashmiri Pandit leader, who led a deputation of migrant Kashmir Pandits and met the Alliance leaders.
Another member said the deputations appreciated the efforts of PAGD to unite both the regions of J&K. “We have received support from Jammu for the restoration of Article 370, 35-A and Statehood in J&K,” said the member of the People’s Alliance.
After holding deliberation with the deputation, the members of the People’s Alliance members organised one-hour long meeting to discuss the DDC polls and other related issues.
In this meeting, they decided to contest DDC polls unitedly after taking views of the people from different districts, communities, tribes and sections of the society.
During their meetings with the deputations, they said there were common views that: “We should not speak differently. We should speak for each other i.e. Jammu for Kashmir, and Kashmir for Jammu. We have common issues and we should shun differences.”
Quoting their meeting with the deputations, the PAGD member told the Greater Kashmir: “People have fear due to new land laws in Jammu. The land laws are not good for entire J&K. People from other states will come here and settle and it was seen by deputations as a threat to their culture including Dogras, Gujjars, Paharis and others.”
There was general opinion among the people, who called on Alliance members, that “injustice was done with erstwhile Dogra State and its division was unacceptable whereas snatching of special status was condemned by all in one voice.”
The people expressed concern: “There is no protection to jobs and land. We had defence under Art 370 in J&K and only actual residents could get jobs and buy land. Now it is open for all outsiders.”
A deputation from Jammu, said, “We might have differences but we have to live along with each other.”
When they could hold panchayat and other elections, why they did not hold assembly elections in J&K, questioned PAGD members who said they have received encouraging responses from Jammu.
The deputations included Sikh groups, Gaddi and Sippi leaders, members of Kashmiri Pandit community, transporters, Gujjars and Bakerwals, residents of Bathindi and Sunjwan, delegations of Scheduled Caste and OBC communities, IAS aspirants, BSP and delegations from Chenab Valley and Pir Panchal.