Jammu, November 13: In a significant development ahead of the coming District Development Council elections in Jammu and Kashmir, IkkJutt Jammu – an organization with extreme right wing ideology, here on Friday declared itself a political party demanding a separate Jammu state and bifurcation of Kashmir Valley into two Union Territories including one for migrant Kashmiri Pandits.
“Our only aim is to fight for a separate Jammu state so as to have political empowerment of its people, IkkJutt Jammu chairman Ankur Sharma said and held the Kashmir based politicians responsible for genocide of Hindus in Kashmir during 1990s. “How can they return to Kashmir unless we give them a protected territorial zone to live there,’’ he asked, adding as it is the responsibility of every government in a democratic set up to ensure that the signs of genocide should not go unpunished, ‘’Kashmir shall be divided into two UTs without any assembly so as to reverse the signs of genocide and to give justice to minorities’’.
He described People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration as “a gang of anti-nationals who looted Jammu for past 70 years’’, saying that they will be defeated in Jammu by IkkJutt Jammu and not the BJP as latter have “invested in it’’. “They (BJP) are pushing anti-national rant through them in Kashmir so as to consolidate their constituency here in Jammu,’’ he added.
“I don’t take political parties in Kashmir different from separatists…militants,’’ he said, adding that they all are “subverting the system by entering into our democratic system’’. For this, they all have a unity of thought between them despite their having political and administrative differences, IkkJutt leader said, adding that they were also trying to bring together unity among political parties of Jammu on the basis of their thought process.
When asked whether demand for a separate Jammu state was not weakening the country’s fight against separatism in Kashmir, Ankur Sharma said that “this criticism is an offshoot of Nehruvian policy and thinking according to which, Jammu Kashmir can be saved only by keeping both together’’. “I completely dismiss this premise as this has led Jammu to face discrimination and slavery of Kashmiri politicians for past 70 years,’’, he said, adding the time has now come when Jammu shall think of its political empowerment and it was possible only if it becomes a separate state.
When his attention drawn towards mainstream political parties in Kashmir propagating secularism, he said it was like “Satin preaching scriptures’’. In this context, he alleged that it were the statements of National Conference leader Dr Farooq Abdullah in 1989 that led to genocide of Kashmiri Hindus in 1990s. However, the Government of India was yet to recognize their killings as genocide as it would bind it to initiate action against the perpetrators, he added.
He attributed the decision to convert IkkJutt Jammu a political organization to “repeated betrayal of Jammu by BJP like Congress during the last 70 years’’, saying “Jammu is signed out of political equated and given second class treatment as the policy paradigm remains the same’’. “There have been processes initiated after 2014-15 by BJP itself which ensures that Jammu remains a slave of Kashmiri hegemony,’’ he said, that decision to carry out delimitation of assembly constituencies in the newly created UT on the basis of 2011 census was one of them.
Referring to denial of minority status to Hindus despite Supreme Court directions and also the February 14, 2018 order directing district police heads not to act against a particular community settling on forest land, he said they (BJP) had earlier also sided with politicians from Kashmir Valley “betraying people of Jammu at a level which is unthinkable’’.
Pointing out that after setting up its units in all the ten districts of Jammu and submitting its constitution along with the signatures of over 200 founder members and more than 10,000 workers spread across Jammu division to the Election Commission of India for its registration as a political party, IkkJutt leader said “we are before you as a first indigenous political party of Jammu with an ideology’’. The party symbol and its flag will be unveiled later, he said while unveiling the vision document of the new political organization.
“The only political goal of IkkJutt Jammu is to have a separate Jammu State as it is the only alternative to get political empowerment of the people in the division,’’ he said, adding that for “political liberation of Jammu’’ from Kashmir centric political parties, “we will field candidates in all the assembly constituencies across 10 districts of Jammu division whenever these elections are announced’’. “At the moment as we are yet to receive the registration certificate from the Election Commission and the party symbol has not been allotted to us, we will be supporting independent candidates especially those who are young, educated, have no political affiliation and who think for Jammu,’’ he added.
Ankur Sharma, an advocate by profession shot into limelight when he successfully contested the case highlighting the plight of Hindus and other religious minorities in Jammu and Kashmir in view of the refusal of successive governments in erstwhile State to give them minority status. Seeing a “government sponsored conspiracy to change demography of the Hindu dominated areas of Jammu region, he successfully launched a campaign against the then PDP-BJP government for the February 14, 2018 order of the then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, directing police heads in all the districts not to dislodge Gujjars and Bakarwals from forest land until a formal forest policy is formulated by the government.
He had also challenged the constitutional validity of the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to Occupants) Act, 2001 in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and sought handing over of the matter to CBI for investigations. The High Court recently declared the Act also known as Roshni Act as unconstitutional and all the land transfers null and void, besides asking the CBI to investigate all the irregularities into all the land transfers to its illegal occupants. Prior to it, following public campaign by Sharma, the Governor of erstwhile state Satya Pal Malik had repealed the Roshni Act in 2018.
The conversion of IkkJutt Jammu as a political party, which till now was seen as an apolitical organization opposed to the settlement of Muslims on State and Forest lands as “land jihad’’ and “demographic invasion’’ of Hindu dominated areas of Jammu, assumes significance as it will be fighting for the same political space on whose support saffron BJP had entered the corridors of power in the erstwhile state first time after the 2014 assembly elections.