The traders have a list of complaints against the Modi govt but the trigger for the fresh outrage is purported govt move to allow Reliance to open 100 stores in Jammu
Jammu’s top business body, whose office-bearers are known for their close links with the BJP, has called a shutdown to protest against the Narendra Modi government’s alleged anti-Jammu policies.
Jammu traders have a long list of complaints against the Centre but the trigger for the fresh outrage is the purported government move to allow Reliance to open 100 stores in Jammu, which they say, will put 20,000 local outlets out of business.
The Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also accused the government of killing the brotherhood between the Jammu and Kashmir regions.
The JCCI, whose office-bearers had cheered the scrapping of the state’s special status, have called for a shutdown on September 22, the first such call since the dilution of Article 370 in August 2019.
“There is a need to understand that their (Centre’s) only intention, whichever way they can do it, is to disturb everything that belongs to Jammu,” JCCI president Arun Gupta told reporters.
“Today, you have a position where people in Leh (Ladakh) have put their issues before the government and the government has agreed. Locals alone will get jobs and trade there. But here (in Jammu), you have all the traders coming from outside and settling here. They (Centre) were much concerned that they will settle people (outsiders) in Kashmir, but in two years two persons have purchased property there.”
Gupta said the government was pursuing pro-Kashmir and anti-Jammu policies.
“They (Reliance) are opening not one or two but hundreds of outlets in Jammu which will function 24/7. There will be just three outlets in Srinagar…. What kind of justice is this?” he said.
“You will give jobs to 1,000 youths, but snatch the livelihood of 20,000 people. The way Jammu trade is being disrupted, we will not accept it.”
The JCCI president hit out at the government for stopping the Darbar move practice, a bi-annual shifting of offices between summer capital Srinagar and winter capital Jammu.
Gupta said when the Muslim community from Kashmir came to Jammu in winters and Jammu people went to the Valley in summer, it not only helped businesses but also bound the regions together.
“Why do they (government) want to kill this brotherhood?” Gupta asked.
BJP’s J&K general secretary Ashok Koul said everybody has a right to protest, but Jammu is and will remain the stronghold of the BJP. “The BJP’s graph will not go down,” Koul told.