Srinagar, Feb 19: We have been watching with growing concern the role being played by our counterparts the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jammu.
The Jammu Chamber had issued a call for Jammu Bandh on the 15th of February, 2019. Resultantly, the State witnessed incidents of violence and harassment of our people. Lives and properties of our people were put to grave risk. Delicate secular fabric, regional peace and brotherhood was threatened. Our people in Jammu, Dehradun and other places were inflicted with injuries and pain. Students were asked to leave educational institutions and college premises. Shops of our people were ransacked and set on fire. Vehicles belonging to them were set ablaze. Negative propaganda by print and electronic media fomented communal behaviour. Our people had to run from place to place to save themselves from goons and hooligans.
According to press reports, criminal proceedings have been initiated against 150 miscreants. We believe that the State action should have been swift to prevent damage to properties and to ensure safety of our people.
In the interest of promoting regional relations, the Kashmir Chamber and Jammu Chamber had agreed to support issues of common interest relevant to the trade bodies and not to create situations vitiating atmosphere. Unfortunately the Jammu Chamber failed to live upto expectations. There is no manner of doubt that the cause of violence was the result of Jammu Bandh. CCIJ failed to anticipate consequences. We urge them to adopt multidimensional thinking before taking any such decisions in future. On top of it, post event response of CCIJ has been conflicting and confrontational hardly conducive to restore peace.
We also wish to state that curiously, but interestingly, in response to the demand of CCIJ, the Government constituted a committee through its order No: 200-GAD of 2019 dated: 11th February, 2019 to examine Toll Tax issues. The Committee comprises of officials of the State Government and representatives of CCIJ. KCCI has been kept out of the Committee and it’s deliberations. We believe that CCIJ should not have agreed to be in the Committee unless due representation was given to KCCI as well. Be that as it may, any decision taken by the Committee will not be supported by KCCI unless it meets the needs of our industrial sector.
In view of the past events, statements made by political leaders, statements made in social media, TV and press reports and to consider emerging issues seriously and with sense of responsibility, The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry has decided to convene a meeting of other trade and industrial organisations, public thinkers, civil society members, journalists, well meaning persons etc shortly to whom requests will be sent to discuss gravitas and evolve a common effective response.
KCCI recognizes that a serious attempt has been and is being made to prevent tourists to visit our State in the forthcoming tourist season. Already statements have appeared in social media that no tourist should visit State for next three years. All these attempts have to be thwarted. Tourism sector has already suffered and it cannot be allowed to suffer further because of few individuals and groups who are out to create hatred and enmity amongst various communities. Forthcoming elections cannot be fought on the sweat and blood of our people. The attempts to gain political mileage out of tragedies is condemnable.
Apart from above, there are several other challenges which our nation has to face in the current times. Among those challenges are the writ petitions filed in the Supreme Court of India questioning constitutional status of our state. Such issues, KCCI recognises, are not issues between two parties but involve millions of people of our State. These issues are serious. KCCI on its part will do everything to protect and safeguard the constitutional status of this state and will not allow its dilution at any cost.
The KCCI therefore urges as follows:
- That the Jammu Chamber exercise restraint and take effective steps to protect regional harmony;
- That the Governors Administration issue appropriate orders for reconstitution of the Toll Tax Committee;
- That the Civil Society of the country take measures to protect and re-assure our people wherever they may be in the Country.
- That the print and electronic media be more sensitive to the prevailing situation while reporting news relating to our State and people.
- That people exercise utmost care while uploading content on the social media and not circulate provocative content.
- In case State machinery fails to bring to justice people who have caused immense harm to our people at Jammu and other States, KCCI has decided to work out other alternatives, in consultation with other stakeholders, which may include snapping of trade ties with those who are bent upon destroying our nation politically, economically and socially. In that eventuality KCCI should not be held responsible.