Jammu observes bandh, Rift in Chamber over Bar Association’s bandh call

Jammu city observed a complete shutdown on Wednesday after a bandh was called by the Bar Association, Jammu, and other organisations over various issues, including illegal settlement of Rohingya refugees, Rasana rape-murder case, tribal settlements and the district status for Nowshera.
Shops and commercial establishments remained closed throughout the day. Public transport too remained off the roads, causing problems to commuters.
“Though we did not have official support of some key organisations, shopkeepers and transporters backed the bandh, making it complete and successful,” said Bar association president BS Slathia while talking to Kashmir Post. Praising the people for standing unitedly, he said the association would not allow any attempt of the government to create a communal divide in Jammu.
Regarding the future course of action, Slathia said, “Our committee will meet on Thursday and chalk out the strategy.” Pertinently, Chamber of Commerce and Industries (CCI) president Rakesh Gupta held a press conference on Tuesday in which he announced the decision not to support the bandh.
Explaining the CCI stand, Gupta said among the issues raised by the Bar association two (Rohingya deportation and Rasana case) were sub judice. Regarding two other demands (tribal settlements and district status for Nowshera), he said these had been dealt with by the government.
A large procession of advocates and activists of other organisations could be seen moving throughout the city, appealing to all to observe a complete shutdown. No report of any violence or damage was reported from any part of the region. “Our procession started from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and after moving through the old city went to the Gandhi Nagar area. We appealed to the public to maintain peace and calm and support the bandh,” said Prem Sadhotra, secretary, Bar Association, Jammu, adding that Kathua and Samba also observed total shutdown. In Rajouri, Reasi, Bhaderwah, Udhampur and Doda, work in the courts remained suspended, he said.
“Though the Bar association was in the forefront in calling the bandh, the total shutdown was due to people’s expression of anger against the BJP for letting down the Jammu region on all fronts. The shutdown is a big nail in the coffin of the BJP,” said Rajinder Malhotra, a shopkeeper at Kachhi Chhawni, Jammu. Other organisations that supported the bandh included like Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and many other social bodies.

Fissures in the Chamber of Commerce and Industries (CCI), Jammu, came to the fore when its secretary Gaurav Gupta termed the refusal to support the Bar Association’s bandh call as unfortunate.
In a public appeal on Facebook, Gupta uploaded a video saying that though the Chamber’s decision of not supporting the bandh call was its own, in individual capacity, he felt that all organisations should have joined hands to support the cause.
“Though it was the CCI’s unfortunate decision, but being a Dogra first, we all should have joined the Bar Association’s call, which is against the inimical forces disturbing and destroying the peaceful environment of Jammu,” he added.
Gupta said facing many disturbing issues such as Rasana rape and murder case, illegal settlement of Rohingya and district status for Nowshera, Jammu has been taken on a ride by the anti-national forces against which all need to stand united.
“Besides being the secretary of the CCI, I am a Dogra first. I feel sad today. I will stand against any “anti-Jammu” activity in the state, irrespective of my position or the post held by me. I appeal to my brethren in Jammu to do the same,” he added.

Kathua, Samba join in too
Kathua and Samba also observed total shutdown on Wednesday. In Rajouri, Reasi, Bhaderwah, Udhampur and Doda, work in the courts remained suspended, said Prem Sadhotra, secretary, Bar Association, Jammu