The Bold Voice of J&K

Disrespecting National Anthem in J&K Assembly!

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Ravinder Jalali

On the opening day of the J and K budget session when the Governor went to address the joint session of Assembly there was uproar from the Opposition and the Governor’s address was cut short. This is not new in our country as it happens in any part of it. The J and K Legislative Assembly was disrupted by a protesting Opposition, who sloganeered against the government and disrupted the Governor’s address. They went to the extent of disrespecting the National Anthem as they kept chanting slogans even while it was being played. J and K Governor N. N Vohra was forced to cut short his speech amidst the chaotic situation in the House. Opposition defence is that it is the ruling combine that provoked the Opposition. But how disrespect to National Anthem is justified? Could not they wait for two minutes to finish the National Anthem before starting ruckus? What were the other issues? The other issue was Kashmir related killings after terrorist Burhan Wani killing. This was an attempt by separatists and their like minded people to hurt the sentiments of Jammu people who are committed and deeply attached to these symbols.
This is the first incident where the National Anthem had to be stopped for such an issue and the government has demanded an apology from the Opposition – National Conference and Congress – for disrespecting the National Anthem and also for disrupting Assembly proceedings. It is a mockery of the democracy and seems that it has been prompted by the Govt. Instead of taking action and proceeding against them legally for disrespecting the national symbol, Govt. is seeking apology from them, who openly, brazenly and deliberately disrespected the national symbol. It is not an ordinary issue. The Opposition MLAs in J and K are guilty of contempt since they have disrespected the National Anthem. These people have flouted the laws of the land. They have disrespected not only our National Flag and our Anthem, but also the Supreme Court of this country. They have flouted the orders of the Supreme Court and amounts to contempt of Court. And it is time that we take action, how long will they be allowed to get away? BJP is coalition partner in the government and can not absolve itself from remaining silent or just making a statement, criticising the Opposition or seeking apology. They are the Govt. and if they do not act, then who else?
Disrespecting national symbol, whether it is Tri-colour, National Anthem, National Flag or map, it is not new in J and K. It has happened in the past and is happening and will happen in future also and no action or anything can be done against those who are responsible but the fact of the matter is that it had happened so far in Kashmir Valley only and not in Jammu province. We have seen how the Tri colour or for that matter any national symbol is disrespected in Valley by burning or stampeding under feet and even in central institutes like REC, Kashmir University. We have seen unfurling of Pakistani flags and ISIS flags in Valley. Even on the roof top of ancestral residence of Chief Minister in Bijbehara we have seen Pakistani flag unfurling so what is new in it? Yes… IT IS NEW that it has happened for the first time in Jammu and that too in the J and K Assembly.
Showing disrespect to National Anthem in Assembly on the soil of Jammu province seems to be a part of grand design of separatists and their well-wishers across the border supported by the pseudo secular and pseudo national mainstream parties to destabilise the Jammu province. It seems to be part of conspiracy to bring the Jammu under the shade of separatism and secessionism.
Jammu is known as a land of warriors and patriots. Nationalism is deep rooted in the blood of Jammuites. Tricolour or National Anthem is revered and worshiped by Jammuites with reverence and enthusiasm. Come Republic Day or Independence Day or any national festival or occasion, Jammu is well prepared and dressed in attire to celebrate the occasion. Each and every crossing, a roundabout, a small or big, is decorated and National Flags hoisted and National Anthem played on Independence Day or Republic Day. Republic Day is fast approaching and it will bear testimony to what I am mentioning. All these celebrations are volunteered and not Govt. sponsored unlike Kashmir Valley. Those who disrespected the flag know it very much that Jammuites sentiments are with any national symbol and is deliberate attempt to hurt the sentiments of people of Jammu. In the light of above mentioned facts it can be set aside as an ordinary event.
So far we have never seen any protest or rally in Jammu in support of separatists or any shut down call against the forces. Jammu has been observing Martyrs Day of the security forces where as Kashmir is mourning the death of a terrorist and celebrating the death of an Indian soldier. In Kashmir one could hardly see any national symbol. There are so many instances to show that the nationalism or national symbol is deep rooted in the blood and culture of Jammuites where as it is absent in Kashmir by and large. But now the trend is growing in Jammu to make it feel that Jammu is also disturbed. The separatists in the form of people representatives like Independent MLA Rashid, NC members and other legislatures are trying their best to expand the wings of separatism in Jammu province also. The only hope earlier was the BJP, which was considered nationalists and patriots, has also succumbed to the pressure of separatists through their political wing and their coalition partner PDP which keeps BJP at a distance and under check. The wings of BJP seem to be clipped off and seem to be unaware of the water seepage undergoing them.
In recent West Pakistani Refugees issue, BJP could not issue Domicile Certificates to WPRs. PDP has kept its promise of not getting DCs issued to WPRs, thereby fulfilled the agenda of Kashmir centric politics who are opposed to it, but what about BJP in Jammu? BJP again played a second fiddle and subordinate to PDP though having equal strength in Assembly.
Recently we have seen for the first time in the last more than two and a half decades , students from Govt. Degree College, Badarwah protesting in support of separatists which was unheard so far in Jammu. The separatists have expanded into the far flung areas of Jammu and seem to making inroads in the Jammu city as well. This is quite embarrasing for the nationalists or Jammuites that the MLA Rashid is claiming plebiscite for J and K and holding placard in his hand and sitting on a Dharna out side the Assembly on Jammu soil. Such MLA should have been booked and thrown into jail because there is nothing to prove against him. He is openly challenging the Governor and says that the position of Governor is illegal, unconstitutional and has no right to address the Assembly as he is not a State Subject. This is the height of the arrogance, anti-nationalism and challenging the sovereignty and integrity of the nation. This is brazen challenge to the Indian state.
Only a few days back NC MLC called terrorist Burhan Wani as martyr but alas there was nobody in the House who would resist or counter him. No body wants to gain the displeasure of Kashmir centric leadership which is anti-India and anti-Jammu as well. It will not be a surprise to see a Bandh call in Jammu, given by any separatist organisations and even mainstream Kashmir based parties, if any.
(The writer is a Social Activist and Convenor, Panun Kashmir)

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