March 2004 News

Terror Victims Neglected By Elected Representatives

21 March 2004
The Hindu

New Delhi: 'For a change we are living in peace after the last Assembly elections, and we hope the Lok Sabha election would help to bring about a greater semblance of normality here. But our representatives should at least come here to know our problems,' says 21-year-old Shubh, who lost his family to terrorist-related violence in the State. The tragedy is still fresh in his mind. He lives with his sister in this remote village accessed only on foot from the Kishtwar- Batote Highway. His parents and 25 of his relatives, who were part of a wedding procession, were killed in Champnari in 1998. Representatives of all political parties called on him and assurances of assistance were given. But nothing had been done. There are similar cases of apathy towards terror victims in this terrorist- infested area of Jammu, where elected representatives have 'failed' to keep up their promises. The district has undergone a change since the last parliamentary elections. The area is 'divided' into upper Banjar and lower Banjar. Muslims inhabit the upper area, while Hindus are dominant in the lower area. But there is harmony among the villagers.'In remote villages like these there is no way out except living in complete harmony,' says Krishna Lal, a local resident, whose sentiments are echoed by Abdul Wani, who lives in the neighbouring village. Every political party has made development the main issue of focus. The Congress' main plank appears to be their performance during the last 15- month of rule. The Congress has announced that the State Health Minister, Chowdhary Lal Singh, will contest the Lok Sabha segment, and the BJP has nominated Chaman Lal Gupta. The July 31, 2003 communal clashes in the neighbouring town of Kishtwar town that left 13 persons injured could jeopardise the good work done at various levels here, according to poll watchers.


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