Don’t try communal divide in Jammu: BJP

Veiled attack on PDP for use of regional names by ministers

The BJP has launched a veiled attack on the PDP, its coalition partner, for trying to divide residents of Muslim-majority areas of Jammu province on communal lines.
Kashmir-centric parties have been using the terms “Pir Panjal” for Poonch and Rajouri districts and “Chenab valley” for the erstwhile Doda district, comprising Doda, Ramban and Kishtwar districts.
The BJP and other pro-Jammu parties are opposed to the use of such terms for hilly areas of the Jammu province as they see a conspiracy to divide the region on communal lines.
The erstwhile Doda district and twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri are Muslim-majority belts in the Jammu province.
The BJP, which is a partner in the coalition government headed by Mehbooba Mufti, has repeatedly opposed the use of “Pir Panjal” and “Chenab valley”, the two terms used in official handouts.
The BJP, avoiding a direct confrontation with the PDP on this issue, has made a veiled attack on its coalition partner without naming ministers who are regularly using such terms.
“The BJP has taken strong exception to efforts to change the nomenclature of regions and areas of the state from their historical names,” said state BJP chief spokesman Sunil Sethi in a handout.
“The efforts are a deliberate attempt to engineer a divide between people on the basis of religion and region, which is not acceptable to the party,” he stated in an indirect attack on the PDP.
Sethi took strong exception to identifying regions of the Jammu province as “Pir Panjal” or “Chenab valley” to change the demographic identity or its unity with the Jammu region.
“The efforts to change names of regions to create a separate identity is a serious matter and exposes the designs to divide Jammu on religious and regional lines,” he said.
“The use of these names by ministers and politicians of the alliance partner is alarming,” he added. He called upon the alliance partner to address the regions of Jammu with existing names.
He sought avoidance of the use of distinct names which could give rise to suspicion in the minds of people of the Jammu region about efforts to divide the region.
He said Jammu was one region which had a composite culture of which all Jammuites were proud. Any effort to divide the Jammu region on lines of region or religion would be opposed, he asserted.
Highly placed sources said BJP leaders had decided to take up the matter with party ministers to bring this sensitive issue to the notice of the Chief Minister.