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Jammu shutdown call has few supporters

Jammu, July 2 (Calcutta Tube) The Jammu shutdown call given by Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti (SAYSS), a group of social, political and religious organisations, for Saturday hasn’t many supporters among the people as it will ‘disturb’ the peace of the region.

‘Sorry, we are not going to support you this time. We will not allow you to spoil Jammu’s peace,’ Anil Chopra, a transporter and vice president of a major transport organisation, told a news conference here Friday.

Chopra not only distanced transporters from the shutdown call but also condemned it as a ‘move to disturb peace of Jammu’.

The Samiti has called the shutdown to protest against what it termed harassment of Amarnath pilgrims in the Kashmir Valley.

Chopra said there was no reason to go in for such shutdowns when the Amarnath pilgrimage is moving on smoothly and the central and state governments were working hard for the success of the pilgrimage.

Shutdowns disturb the peace of Jammu, provoke elements in the Kashmir Valley to cause more trouble over there thus ‘further moving the cycle of this bad blood’, and result in huge economic loss, he added.

Chopra’s attitude and approach have many supporters in Jammu.

People instantly recall the 2008 Amarnath land row agitation that lasted a little over two months and left a dozen Jammu youth killed, crippled the economy and created communal and regional and sub-regional tensions, with most of the blame coming to the people of Jammu.

‘And the worst thing was that nothing was gained. Land was not restored to the Amarnath shrine board,’ said Amit Kumar, a shopkeeper who kept his business shut for two months, hoping that the Samiti would achieve its goal of getting the land restored to the shrine board, which was cancelled after an agitation against its allotment in the valley.

The things had come to such a pass that Kashmiri traders had refused to do business with Jammu traders, and started getting material directly from traders in Delhi and Amritsar, Punjab.

Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather, camping in Jammu, told IANS that the shutdowns only add to the economic losses of the state.

‘We, as citizens of the state, are in need of development and we also need to strengthen our economy. That purpose cannot be achieved by bandhs or shutdowns,’ he said.

He pointed to the statements of different sections of the people in Kashmir, urging the pilgrims to ‘visit’ and perform their pilgrimage.

Industries Minister Surjit Singh Salathia said: ‘We should not play into the hands of the forces who want to play one region against other and one community against the other.’

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