Naming whole of Jammu Division as Dogra in 2011 had disturbed some Kashmir Valley leaders
* First PV Chakra of Bharat was awarded to a Dogra of today’s Himachal Pradesh Major S N Sharma *
* Only Kashmiriyat & Dogriat companionship can be way forward to peace & stability in J&K *
Dogra Sambhag is known for its warrior inheritance and the first Param Vir Chaktra of Swantra Bharat was also awarded to a Dogra from today’s Himachal Pradesh PVC Major Som Nath Sharma , To be brief the Dogra Sambhag / region is bound on the north by the Pir Panchal Range of the middle Himalayas, in the south by Punjab, on the east by Ladakh and is bordering Pakistan. Jammu Dogras though traditionally more inhabited the Shivalik range of mountains but they are spread over whole of Jammu region. Majority are followers of Hinduism but a large number of Jammu Dogras believe in Islam as well.
J&K Revenue department had ordered for issue of Dogra certificate vide Order No. Rev.(LB) 69 of 2011 dated: March 25, 2011 to people belonging to Jammu Division of J&K. What was there in Dogra Certificate that disturbed the Kashmir valley leaders ( not much of common man of Kashmir valley ) ? Dogra certificate Mein Aesa Keyaa Hai Jis Se Geelani Aur Mehboob Baig Jaesae Log J&K Kee Ekta Ke Liyae Etnae Chintit Ho Geyae The? Etna Jaroor Tha Ki Dogra Certificate Se Oon Logoan Ko Jaroor Dhakka Lga Thai Jo Jammu Division Ko Hindu Aur Muslim Bahul Elakoan Mein Bantna Chahtae Hain.
Some people in Kashmir Valley including the separatists like Ali Shah Geelani objected to issue of Dogra Certificate. So strangely some so called main stream leaders and even a National Conference Member Parliament too in a way ‘stood’ with the separatists in this regard . No objections to the issue of Dogra Certificate came from any part of Jammu Division / Region. But the leaders from Jammu did not stand that firmly with Omar Abdullah Government that was under the pressures of Kashmir centric leaders backing the separatists like Sayeed Ali Shah. With pressures mounting Omar Abdullah headed government issued another Order under No.. Rev (LB) 82 of 2011 Dated: 7-04-2011 informing that Dogra certificate would be issued to those who wanted to apply for jobs in security forces for some relaxations in recruitment standards. It all did not end there /. Even the Middle East’s English language daily Arab News said on 8 April that March 25th Dogra Certificate order of J&K Government may stir unrest in Kashmir. It was on 22 April 2011 that Union Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order under the signatures of Director (Personnel) Ajay K Singh ordering that the relaxation in chest and height, which was earlier applicable to Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh regions of J&K would now be applicable to residents of entire J&K State. And J&K Government referring the MOHA orders in principle withdrew the orders of 25 Mar 2011 on 28th April .2011.
Some leaders from Kashmir valley so often talk of Kashmiriat and Kashmiri interests. They do not see any dangers to integrity of J&K when they see J&K only in Kashmiriat. But when the then revenue Minister in NC lead NC- Congress J&K Government Raman Bhalla talked of DOGRA as identity of Jammu as whole Jammu Division , some Kashmiri leaders saw dangers to J&K . How funny. Some Valley leaders have been quoted as having said that Dogra Certificate was intended to divide J&K on Communal / ethnic lines. Whereas Raman Bhalla had clarified that all the residents of Jammu Division ( Jammu Province of erstwhile J&K State of Maharaja Hari Singh ) whose elders were residents of J&K in 1944 are Dogras irrespective of the religion, ethnicity, even dialect .
It was not the job opportunities that disturbed some Kashmir Valley leaders . It was the definition of Dogra that was put forth by Omar Abdullah’s Revenue Minister Raman Bhalla that had disturbed not only Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani but many Kashmir centric leaders even from so called main Stream parties Kashmir Valley leaders in general succeeded over the years in exploiting the innocent people of Kashmir valley in the name of Kashmiriat /Religion. Very less work has been done for carrying Kashmiriyat & Dogriat along side had it been done so the ‘separatist’ designs / games to use religion for misguiding common people for sowing even a bit of seeds of communalism in some pockets in Jammu Region ( DODA, Rajouri, Poonch, Banihal, etc) would have been absolutely defeated. No doubt some so called main stream leaders like some from PDP too have based their plans on use of Kashmiriat for their survival. So as regards the issue under reference here what disturbed ‘them; was that Omar Abdullah’s government had named all the people & areas of Jammu Division, ( whose elders were PRCs of Jammu region in 1944 ), irrespective of the religion, ethnicity, language etc as Dogra there by defeating any games os religious/ sub regional divides.
Not only that ,some individuals / forces have been exploiting government of India/ people outside in the name of disturbances / Kashmir dispute / Kashmir turmoil . Such forces would not like that the outside world knows that there is also much large an area in the name of DOGRA in Indian STATE of J&K having continuity with Dogriat of Himachal Pradesh from where no one questions the 1947 accession of J&K with India. A definition that would unite whole of Jammu Division in the name of DOGRIAT like bond Kashmiriat has done for Kashmir Valley was/ would be difficult for such like elements to digest.
An identity in Dogriat parallel to Kashmiriat emerging from 2011 Dogra Certificate order did pinch some in government too , may be government too took to low profile against opposition to Dogra limits..
In 1930;s Sheikh Mohd Abdullah did start his public career in the socio economic welfare of the Kashmir muslims but was surely not envy to the identity / progress of others. Later on Sheikh Abdullah’s National Conference identified her interests also in non muslims as well people outside Kashmir Valley But, still in 2011 the Government lead by National Conference had come up with the plan for issue of Dogra Certificates for the welfare and identity of the residents of J&K belonging to areas of erstwhile Jammu Province of the princely state of J&K outside Kashmir Valley . Some did say that the orders issued by J&K Revenue Department headed by Raman Bhalla were issued without the knowledge of CM Omar Abdullah. But surely that was not worth belief, Revenue Minister did enjoy the good will of Chief minister.
May be local pressures created from Kashmir centric elements / environment compelled the power centers to isolate Raman Bhalla to some extent .But the local leaders of Jammu Division ( even from BJP) did not work then with that commitment and logically on this subject . So no good political support was generated for Omar Abdullah from outside Kashmir Valley. Had it been not so Omar Abdullah would have surely stood against the separatist pressures as well as pressures from other Kashmir centric leaders and would not have been forced in a way to consign the Dogra Certificate order to files..
The Jammu leaders cannot simply skip their responsibility by saying that Omar Government had bowed before Geelani. Such political gamesmanship would not yield any good. This sends wrong signals to world community. It is Omar Abdullah who was ruling the State and not ” Geelani”. The then NC Congress government surely needed the support of one and all to defeat the separatists and anti elements.
Issuing and obtaining of Dogra Certificate should not have been shelved. The people of Jammu Division should have regularly approached the revenue authorities for issue of Dogra certificate. And in case that was not issued in routine the government should have been made come out with a speaking order withdrawing earlier order mentioning what was wrong in the definition of Dogra as was given by Omar’s Revenue Minister. Kashmiriyat & Dogriat Companionship can be way forward to Mission Peace & Stability in J&K since that would minimize the working grounds for anti elements. Let those outside political arena take to the mission- Mission Peace & Stability in J&K.
(The author is a Sr Journalist and known analyst of J&K affairs [email protected]).