Saffron Brigade May Float Party To Press For Jammu Statehood

3 January 2009
The Times of India


Jammu: Even before he assumed office as Jammu & Kashmir's next chief minister, Omar Abdullah on Saturday faced a new challenge from the saffron front. The Shri Amarnathji Yatra Sangharsh Samiti, which spearheaded the violent Amarnath agitation, announced it would float a new party and start a campaign for a separate state of Jammu. 'We would float a party, Jammu Sangharsh Samiti (JSS), to launch the movement against the discriminatory policy and the region's statehood,' said Samiti spokesperson Narinder Singh. Singh, who teaches at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences, refused to name the proposed party's head, fuelling speculation that Samiti convener Leela Karan Sharma might be dispensed with. The move to form a regional party appears to be spurred by BJP's impressive 11 seat win in the Hindu-dominated areas where votes were polarised after the violent agitation over the transfer of land in Baltal to the Amarnath management. While local Kashmiris resisted the transfer, forcing the government to go back on its decision, Jammu saw it as fitting into a pattern of neglect for Hindu demands. 'We want 8 out of 25 assembly seats reserved for POK to be given to Hindu migrants from POK and Pakistan.' Around 13 lakh people migrated to Jammu after the partition and subsequent India-Pakistan wars. Singh said JSS would also seek reservation for Jammuites in jobs and professional colleges.