Jammu

Jammu

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The police foiled an attempt of Shiv Sena activists from neighbouring Punjab to enter the state at Lakhanpur, near here, today.
The Shiv Sainiks from Punjab, who were stopped by the J&K Police from moving further, had planned to meet the Governor of J&K in the wake of Kashmir unrest.
However, the police action infuriated the Shiv Sainiks, led by their Punjab unit chief Sanjeev Ghanoli and other prominent party leader Sudhir Suri.
The enraged Shiv Sainiks parked their vehicles in the middle of the Jammu-Pathankot national highway at Lakhanpur when they were not allowed by the police to move towards Jammu. This led to a massive jam at the Lakhanpur Toll Plaza for at least two hours.
Speaking to mediapersons, Shiv Sena’s Punjab unit president Sanjeev Ghanoli said the situation in Kashmir was deteriorating alarmingly but the government was not taking any steps to control it.

A sizzling summer weekend with the temperature likely to touch 41°C in the next two days.
Today, the temperature was recorded at 39.7 °C, which is seven degrees above normal. A scorching heatwave has gripped the region, especially the plains, with the temperature floating between 38-39 °C.
The weathermen believes that the heatwave may intensify in the coming days and the trend may lead to breaking of all previous records of May and June.
According to the forecast by the meteorological department, the maximum temperature will be above 40°C on Thursday and Friday and it will cross 41°C on Saturday.

Sangh Shakhas Increase By 20%; 45 Swayamsevaks Recruited Daily

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the parent organization of BJP, has made strong inroads in Jammu and Kashmir since the formation of BJP Government at the center and its coalition government in the state with Sangh Shakhas in the state increasing by 20%.
From 372 Shakhas before the formation of BJP Government at the center, the RSS, at present, is running a total of 465 Shakhas across the state, a whopping increase by 20%, reliable sources informed Kashmir Post.
The RSS Shakhas are the workshops (training platform) where the volunteers (Swayamsevaks) are made familiar with the ideology of the Sangh and taught how to propagate it by reaching out to the people and involving masses.
Sources informed the RSS is running 279 Shakhas at 187 places in Jammu and Ladakh region on a daily basis. Apart from this, 110 Shakhas are functioning on a weekly basis and 76 Shakhas are functioning on monthly basis.
Sources said that in all the Shakhas, the organization reviews its functioning quarterly and weekly with regard to taking the ideology of the Sangh forward besides devising future strategy.

In this regard, RSS state general secretary (Prant Karyavah), Parshotam Dedeechi, when contacted, admitted that the activities of RSS have seen an upward swing in the state since the formation of BJP Government at the center and its coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The people of the state are accepting our nationalist ideology which also envisages welfare of all irrespective of cast, color, creed and religion,” Dedeechi said. More and more people are joining RSS due to which our activities and reach among the masses have increased, he said.
“Swayamsewaks) from other parts of the country come here regularly to review functioning of the Shakhas and other activities of sangh,” the RSS state general secretary said.
The assessment is made quarterly and weekly.
Sources informed that RSS has also started online process to recruit people in the organization for propagating its ideology.
“On an average, 45 people are joining RSS on a daily basis through our online process,” a senior functionary of RSS said adding people from Kashmir are also joining the organization.

The state government decision of allowing the Director, Tourism, Jammu, to proceed on a deputation to a mid-career training programme just before the start of the much-hyped “Jammu Mahotsav-2017” event has raised many eyebrows here.
The decision is being seen as a “setback” to the event as the Director, Tourism, Jammu, is the nodal officer for the four-day mega event to be organised at Bagh-e-Bahu.
On Tuesday, the government assigned the charge of the post of the Director, Tourism, to Manesha Devi, Director, Floriculture, Jammu, after the Director, Tourism, Jammu, Sushma Chauhan proceeded on deputation to the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration.
“Jammu Mahotsav-2017” is being organised in the winter capital from April 13 to 16 to promote Jammu as an independent tourist destination. The carnival will showcase the rich cultural heritage of the state and the region.
“This decision will have a serious impact on the success of the event which is being revived after a long time. The Director, Tourism, Jammu, who was fully involved and had full knowledge of arrangements being put in place for the event, was the nodal officer and her absence will make a difference to the overall success of the event,” said Pawan Gupta, president, Jammu Hotel and Lodges Association.

‘Will drive out Rohingya Muslims, Bangladeshis from Jammu’

Brandishing sharp edged weapons, Bajrang Dal activists Tuesday took out a rally in Old City Jammu to strengthen movement to evict Rohingya Muslim refugees from Jammu region.

The rally started from Akhada near Tawi Bridge on the occasion of Hanuman Janmotsav, where over 200 youth joined Bajrang Dal, in presence of senior saffron leaders.
After the function was over, the Bajrang Dal activists took out a motorbike rally brandishing swards and trishuls.
The activists took rounds of the City before the rally culminated at the temple near Shalamar.
“Over 200 youth joined Bajrang Dal. We have pledged to raise voice against the illegal stay of Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshi nationals in Jammu as it is a security concern. We will drive them out from Jammu,” said one of the Bajrang Dal activists, while talking to Kashmir Post.
He said that they took out rally with a motive to spread awareness among residents of Jammu against the illegal stay of Rohingya Muslims.

“Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has failed to give rights to refugees who are struggling since 1947, 1965 and 1971 and now the government is talking about a policy for these illegally settled Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshi nationals,” said Bajrang Dal leader Rakesh Sharma.
“We are ready to meet any challenge in Jammu,” added another Bajrang Dal leader while speaking before the saffron group in Akhada near Tawi Bridge in a provocative way.
Amid sloganeering of ‘Jai Shri Ram,’ in a provocative speech, the Bajrang Dal leader said “Vo Jahan Be Hume Bulae Gay Hum Wahan Aaege, Vo Samaiy (time) Aur Jagha Be Uske Hoge. Hum Vahi Pohanch Jaye Ge. (If they call us at the place of their choice, we will reach there. We accept the challenge).”
Raking up another controversy, the Bajrang Dal leaders said that they have started door-to-door campaign in Jammu to ensure construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
“Until Ram Temple is constructed in Ayodhya, we will continue our movement and spread awareness “among the people about the issue”. This time, the Ram Temple will be constructed,” Bajrang Dal leader said.

There can be no justification for these foreigners who entered unauthorisedly into the Indian territory, travelling several hundreds of miles to settle in Jammu, the northern end of the country. 

It is patently wrong to paint the voices seeking deportation of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis settled in Jammu as an onslaught on any particular community. This is a cry for weeding out the security threat elements from the peace-loving people of Jammu who have lived in peace for decades. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians have been living in one another’s neighbourhood for years.
Therefore, to give a communal colour to such calls for deportation is aimed at twisting the facts and distorting the objective of the people of Jammu — to live in peace sans those posing a serious security threat.
The foreigners are as much a threat to Hindus as they are to Muslims. To say that it is the Jammu versus Kashmir narrative is again an attempt to polarise the situation in this sensitive border state to obscure the real issue.
The political leaders who come out in defence of these foreigners and vow to keep them permanently in Jammu as a part of the Muslim community of the region have no justification, whatsoever. To make it into a Muslim versus Hindus issue, as is being done with the clear patronage by some communally oriented politicians, would be courting disaster. It appears to be a sinister design to disintegrate the state.
There is, and there can be, no justification for these foreigners who entered unauthorisedly into the Indian territory, travelling several hundreds of miles to settle in Jammu, the northern end of the country. They could have found refuge or shelter at many places en route while travelling from the borders to this place, which neither has Muslims in the majority nor is an economic hub. Their decision to settle in Jammu raises several doubts. Jammu is a border area, where militancy has tried to raise its head many a time and it is also under a major threat of drug trafficking.
There are a series of police reports dating back to early 2000 about Rohingyas and Bangladeshis being involved in anti-social activities through the patronage of politicians, who thrive on communal politics. Lately, what has come to the fore is that these “refugees” have procured official documents like Aadhaar cards and ration cards, which accord them the status of permanent residents of the state. On their own, they could not have done so. There is official and political patronage available to them.
Why did they require these documents, and who helped them? These questions are directly related to their intentions to settle permanently in Jammu in violation of law. Their links with militants are under scanner. This is what has made the people in Jammu raise their voice for their ouster.
It is beyond comprehension that a section of Muslims in J&K, apparently misguided or working under the influence of some undesirable elements within the state and outside of it, should jump in their favour and make common cause with them. They are not only perceived as a threat but are a real threat to the national security. There is absolutely no doubt that Rohingyas are victims of persecution in their country — Burma or Myanmar. They are being driven out from there by the Buddhists. That is a sheer case of religious intolerance there. But that doesn’t mean that the revenge of that intolerance they should seek from the soil of Jammu.
Recently, a traders’ body shockingly declared in a statement that an agitation would be launched to “identify and kill” illegal immigrants if the government failed to take action against Rohingyas, whose population, like that of the Bangladeshis, has multiplied exponentially. The statement was ill-conceived and badly expressed. Despite this, there doesn’t seem to be any intention of making it a Hindu versus Muslim issue. It remains Jammu versus anti-social elements issue. It is good that the statement has been withdrawn.
The point is simple that things reached such a pass because the governments over the years have not been able to check the Rohingyas’ infiltration and their deep intrusion into Jammu. It is for the government and the officials to identify these men and women and honourably deport them to their country of origin.

Refugees on Intel radar after recovery of fake identity documents

Dealing with armed insurgency for the past 28 years, the state is now faced with new security concerns emerging from the illegal settlement of Rohingya Muslim refugees in Jammu, forcing the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to think of their deportation to their country.
The issue snowballed into a major controversy when some refugees managed to acquire important documents such as Aadhaar cards, ration cards, fake permanent residence certificates and election identity proof through fraudulent means with the help of officials of the district administration.
The refugees are also getting birth certificates, facilitating the admission of their children to government-run schools in the state.
The Home Ministry was made aware of the development by intelligence agencies recently. On several occasions earlier, intelligence agencies have received input about refugees being vulnerable and at risk of falling into the hands of anti-national elements.
“The CID and other intelligence agencies have warned the MHA about the designs of the illegal settlement of Rohingya refugees in the state. As they are dependent on aid and relief from the government and NGOs and don’t have any means of livelihood, they could become a tool in the hands of anti-national elements which will prove disastrous for the security of the state,” said an intelligence source.
The fears were compounded when important identity documents were recovered by the Jammu district administration from the possession of a few Rohingya families. Following the recovery, an inquiry committee was constituted to probe the matter. The panel report is awaited.
Insiders in the district administration told Kashmir Post that Aadhaar cards, ration cards, fake permanent resident certificates and election identity proofs were recovered by officials from some refugees.
“This is a dangerous trend and the pattern was unearthed on time. Officials of the district administration were involved in the issuance of the documents to Rohingya refugees and it is being probed,” said a source in the district administration.
The stay of the Rohingyas has been facilitated by the state administration by allowing them to construct hutments with barbed wire fencing around the area.
The Rohingyas from Myanmar took refuge in India after facing threat to life from the Buddhist government in their own country.
After entering India, the refugees covered hundreds of miles and took shelter in Jammu. The state government has said the Rohingya refugees were not brought here under a well-thought-out plan.
During the Budget session, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had said in reply to a question in the Legislative Assembly that the “Rohingya refugees have entered the state on their own and nobody guided them to travel thousands of miles to reach Jammu. None of them is involved in any militancy-related activity, but 17 FIRs stand registered against 38 Rohingyas for various offences, including illegal border crossing. However, strict surveillance is being kept on the activities of the foreigners and the organisations helping them.”
Deportation plan
The Jammu district administration recently recovered important identity documents from the possession of a few Rohingya families. The issue has snowballed into a major controversy
The Home Ministry, as per sources, is working out a plan to deport them to Myanmar after they received a negative report from intelligence agencies about the refugees
Reside near Muslim areas
Currently, 5,743 Rohingya refugees reside in Jammu and Kashmir. Of them, 4,999 refugees are settled in Jammu district while the rest live in Samba district
In Jammu district, the refugees live in camps at 26 places. They have preferred to stay near the Muslim-majority areas such as Bathindi, Sunjwan, Bahu Fort and Narwal in Jammu city. A few of them also reside in the Domana, Channi Himmat, Bus Stand and Dogra Hall areas

Restoration work by Archaeological Survey of India prohibits cultural activity at heritage site

While Jammu Festival returns to the region after a decade promising a four-day fiesta of fun, music, dance and culture starting April 13, it, however, will bring along a conspicuous miss with monumental Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex not participating in the festivity.
The reason: Ongoing preservation and restoration work prohibits any activity at the venue that may cause damage to the fragile structure.
This has led to disappointment among people of Jammu who have been regular visitors to the “nerve centre heritage” of the city during all earlier Jammu Festivals that presented treasure trove of Dogra heritage and culture during the festivity.
“Earlier also restoration and preservation of the heritage site was in progress when the last festival was held here. The stalls, stage and other allied equipment was erected at a distance where performers performed and people cherished the Dogra cuisines while having the glimpse of the cultural heritage of our region,” said Sonia Sharma, a resident of Panjtirthi.
The Tourism Department, the nodal agency that is conducting the Jammu Festival, however is planning to give this cultural heritage a buoyed look by illuminating the whole Mubarak Mandi on the occasion, sans activity, to include it in the festival.
“Since restoration and preservation works are on at the heritage site, we have kept it out of the festival to avoid any damage to the structure,” said Sushma Chauhan, Director Tourism.
A joint House panel on Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex, headed by its chairman Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo, had visited the heritage site where the work of restoration is in progress. The panel inspected the pace of work and sought details of its execution and allied works from the functionaries concerned.
“Since the past many years the restoration works have been going on at the site. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has taken up the job, but it is quite unfortunate that works are going at a snail’s pace and the authorities concerned are not bothered,” said one of the panel members. He said the panel would submit its findings to the government after the byelections to two parliamentary seats in the state.
Legislators Surinder Kumar Choudhary, Ajaz Ahmad Khan, Rajesh Gupta, Pawan Kumar Gupta and Ashok Khajuria are the panel members.
The panel had also expressed concern over the slow progress of the project and called upon the functionaries concerned to speed up the pace so that the restoration works are executed in time. It issued specific instructions to the authorities to closely monitor the quality of works to ensure that the original architectural features of the site are preserved.
Academician and convener of the Dogri Advisory Board Sahitya Akademi Lalit Magotra termed the upcoming festival as a “festival without heart”.
“Best Jammu Festivals so far have been those which focused their activities at the Mubarak Mandi heritage site, because the site has a traditional and emotional connect with the people of Jammu. Without Mubarak Mandi’s participation in the festival, the emotional impact will be missing,” said Lalit Magotra.
Ashok Khajuria, BJP MLC, who is also a panel member, admitted that slow work on the Mubarak Mandi heritage site is a cause of concern. “Though the ASI is doing its job, the progress is quite slow,” he said.

After the J&K State Cable Car Corporation (JKSCCC) cancelled its controversial tender having change in the nomenclature of the Mubarak Mandi–Bahu Fort Cable Car Project to the Mubarak Mandi-Shahabad Project, the government tried to shield the officers who were responsible for issuing the controversial tender.
Even as the government sought to clarify that there was no renaming of Bahu Fort, there was no formal notification in this regard.
In a hurriedly called press briefing at her office chamber in the civil secretariat here, Priya Sethi, Minister of State for Tourism, made every attempt to shield the officers of JKSCCC officers. She said, “As far as the nomenclature of the Mubarak Mandi-Bahu Fort Cable Car Project is concerned, there is no such change in the revenue records. The allegations levelled by some people that the name of Bahu Fort no more existed in the official records of the cable car and had been named Shahabad Station are totally baseless.”
However, she did not make it clear whether any inquiry had been ordered by the government to identify those who were responsible for the wrongdoing. “No inquiry has been ordered but we are taking all necessary steps to fix the responsibility and identify persons involved in it. The Opposition is trying to take political mileage out of the issue for votebank politics only,” she said.
However, till late on Thursday evening, the government issued no formal notification regarding the name of the project that continued to add to the confusion of all stakeholders.
Pertinently, the JKSCCC in a notice issued on March 17 had invited tenders for the construction of a wall wherein it had named the Bahu Fort area as the Shahabad Station of the cable project.
The controversial issue had drawn severe political and public outrage with many political and social groups alleging that the BJP was “hand in glove” with its coalition partner PDP to change the demography of the winter capital of the state.

The change in the nomenclature of the Mubarak Mandi-Bahu Fort Cable Car project to the Mubarak Mandi-Shahabad project is set to snowball into a major controversy as Jammu-based groups have upped the ante against the “attempt to change the demography” of the winter capital of the state.
In other terms, the name of Bahu Fort no more exists in the official records of the cable car project as it has now been named “Shahabad Station”.
The ruling alliance partner, BJP, has come under fire not only from the Opposition but also from its leaders who have made it clear that “it would not be tolerated at any cost”.
In its notice inviting tender for the construction of a wall, issued by the J&K State Cable Car Corporation Limited on March 17, the corporation has named the Bahu Fort area as “Shahabad Station of Cable Project at Shahabad, Jammu”, triggering a controversy at a time when the BJP is part of the government.
During the previous National Conference-Congress government headed by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, the BJP had vociferously raised the issue in the Legislative Assembly in 2014, alleging that an attempt was being made to change the name of historical places in Jammu.
Following an uproar, the Tourism Department and the Managing Director, J&K Cable Car Corporation, had clarified, had in March 2014 issued an official statement, saying that the name of the cable car project was “Peer Kho to Bahu Fort”. They had said the takeoff point would be near the Peer Kho shrine and the landing point would near Bahu Fort.
Ravinder Sharma, chief spokesperson for the state Congress, took strong exception of the renaming of Bahu Fort. He said “some elements in the government are trying to create a religious divide”. He expressed surprise over the criminal silence being maintained by the BJP on the “highly sensitive and religious issue”.
The prestigious cable car project aims at tapping the tourism potential of Jammu.
Maintaining a tough position, Zorawar Singh Jamwal, chairman, Team Jammu, said: “Nobody would be allowed to change the identity of Jammu. We held a meeting of our activists. It has been decided that Team Jammu activists will hit the streets if the government does not ch---ange the name from Shahabad Station to Bahu Fort within a week. I will also like to ask the BJP, which claims to be the custodian and champion of the Jammu cause, why has it maintained a criminal silence on the issue. The party should clear its stand.”
Ashok Khajuria, BJP MLC and former state president of the party, also opposed the move. He said: “I had raised the issue in the Assembly when I was an MLA. We will not allow this. It is an attempt to change the demography of Jammu which will not be tolerated at any cost. Any such move will be dealt with sternly. Bahu Fort, which houses the shrine of Bawe Wali Mata, has religious importance and is directly attached to the sentiments of people. Nobody will be allowed to hurt the sentiments of people.”
Meanwhile, activists of the National Panthers Students Union (NPSU) today held a protest against the state government for allegedly hurting the sentiments of Jammu people. They burnt an effigy of the state government.
“This move shows that the government is trying to change the history of the Dogras which is not acceptable to Jammu people. BJP leaders owe an explanation to the people,” said Virender Singh, state president, NPSU.

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