Police detained 15 protesters on Monday, the fourth day of the Jammu bandh called by the AIIMS Coordination Committee (ACC), demanding a notification to set up an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in the Jammu region.
The ACC extended the 72-hour bandh on Sunday by another three days despite Union health minister JP Nadda’s recent tweet wherein he assured “AIIMS-like facilities for both the Jammu and Kashmir regions”.
Not convinced with the assurance, the ACC demanded that the minister issue a notification, stating that the institute would be coming up in Jammu.
Nadda was not available for comment.
Bandh hits normal life
All business establishments and educational institutions remained closed and public transport was off the road.
Jammu University appealed to the ACC to keep exam centres out of the purview of the bandh.
The bandh affected the movement of pilgrims on the Amarnath Yatra and those headed for the Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra. The Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation has pressed buses into service at the railway station for the yatris.
Nadda expected in Jammu
The ACC is an umbrella organisation of 70 non-political organisations headed by Jammu Bar Association president Abhinav Sharma. Among the organisations supporting the ACC are the local chamber of commerce and transporters’ association.
On Sunday, the ACC announced the extension of the bandh by another 72 hours, rejecting Nadda’s announcement of “AIIMS-like facilities” in both Jammu and Kashmir regions. It has termed it as “vague and ambiguous”.
ACC protesters held rallies in parts of Jammu city on Monday. Police detained 15 protesters in the Nowabad area for disrupting public transport and forcing the closure of shops.
According to sources, the union health minister is likely to arrive in Jammu to hold talks with the ACC and clarify his statement on the “AIIMS-like facilities”.
The BJP has termed the bandh politically motivated.
Farooq supports AIIMS in Jammu, says all-party delegation should meet PM
Meanwhile, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Monday proposed an all-party delegation from Jammu and Kashmir to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi for breaking the impasse on the establishment of an additional and full-fledged All India Institute of Medical Sciences for Jammu.
“Both divisions need AIIMS. There shouldn’t be any hitch for the Centre to take an immediate decision on this issue,” said Farooq Abdullah. He was addressing the AIIMS Coordination Committee (ACC) supporters on Monday afternoon after his arrival from Srinagar on a three-day visit to the Jammu Province.
He said AIIMS for both the divisions is not a favour but a requirement in view of the inadequate health infrastructure in the state.
Farooq Abdullah was accompanied by NC provincial president Devender Singh Rana and state vice-president Surjeet Singh Slathia.
“We will meet the PM and present a strong case for the consideration of Parliamentarians, so that further delay is not made on this important issue,” said Abdullah.
The former chief minister expressed anguish over ‘inept handling’ of the issue by the PDP-BJP coalition government, saying the finer sensitivities involved in the matter have not been taken into consideration. He said Jammu and Kashmir has peculiar problems and need special dispensation.
He hoped that the commitment made to the people of Jammu will be kept and an additional AIIMS should be announced without further delay.
“The National Conference has a very clear stand on the issue,” he said, adding “while we welcome the announcement of AIIMS for Kashmir, we strongly plead for similar facility in Jammu.” He declared that his party would fight for this cause.
Struggle so far
February 28, 2015: The setting up of AIIMS for Jammu and Kashmir is announced in the budget speech. Minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh, issues statement thanking finance minister Arun Jaitley for giving AIIMS to Jammu.
March 1: Agenda for PDP-BJP alliance released, stating that AIIMS will be set up in Kashmir.
April 24: Jammu bandh call given by chamber of commerce and industry and transporters
May 27: Another bandh in Jammu as home minister Rajnath Singh visits
June 18: Deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh gives in writing that AIIMS will be announced on or before July 20
July 24: AIIMS coordination committee gives call for 72-hour Jammu bandh from July 31 to protest the delay in announcement
July 30: Union health minister JP Nadda announces “AIIMS-like facilities in both Jammu and Kashmir regions”
August 2: ACC terms the statement vague, demands proper notification clearly stating that AIIMS will be set up in Jammu. Extends bandh by another three days
August 2: State health minister Lal Singh says AIIMS in Jammu and Kashmir regions will each have annual financial provision of Rs 1,500 crore