JAMMU, Nov 6: The people of Jammu observed complete violence free bandh on the reopening of the Civil Secretariat, the seat of the State Government in the winter capital city, here today.
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The call for day-long strike was given by the Chamber of Traders Federation (CTF) and was supported by various Transport Unions, Jammu High Court Bar Association, many trade, political, social and youth organizations including NC, Congress, NPP, JPPF, Shiv Sena, Rajput Sabha, Brahman Sabha, Panun Kashmir etc, to highlight the alleged failure of the PDP-BJP Government to address public issues.
The protesters denounced collection of a toll tax on goods imported from outside the State and alleged discrimination against the people of the Jammu region.
In view of the strike, the city markets wore a deserted look while public transport remained off the roads today. The people had to face hardships in the absence of public transport while many city schools and colleges also remained closed. The attendance in many Government offices and banks remained thin in view of strike.
The members of various organisations including students, social and political bodies, were seen carrying out protest marches on various city roads. The entire Jammu City had virtually been converted into the ‘city of protests’ today to mark the general strike to show strong resentment against the ruling PDP-BJP Government. The Administration had made strong security arrangements around Secretariat.
The protesting CTF members, transporters and High Court Bar members took to the streets, to highlight the total failure of the PDP-BJP Government on all fronts and staged a dharna near Tawi bridge. The protesters tried to take out a march to the Civil Secretariat but the strong contingent of police and para- military forces foiled their attempts.
However, the cavalcading protesters shouting slogans passed through various city markets including Ragunath Bazaar, City Chowk, Kanak Mandi, Parade Ground, Gumat, Jewel Chowk, Dogra Chowk and finally culminated at the statue of Maharaja Hari Singh at Tawi bridge where several leaders addressed gathering.
The protest was against the “governance deficit, lack of development and failure of the government to deliver on the promises made to the people of the State.”
The bandh call was given by Chamber of Traders Federation (CTF) led by Neeraj Anand and fully supported by Transport Unions led by TS Wazir and Jammu High Court Bar Association president BS Slathia, to lodge protest against continuation of Toll tax on goods imported from outside the State, to press for public holiday on the birth anniversary of Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, stop discrimination against Jammu region and resolve all the pending issues of the transporters. However, a few trade bodies distanced themselves from strike and suffered strong public criticism.
While addressing gathering at Tawi bridge, Neeraj Anand highlighted the complete failure of the elected representatives from Jammu region to address the important issues of abolition of Toll tax and declaration of holiday on the birthday of Maharaja Hari Singh. He lamented abject failure of BJP leaders to take up cudgels on behalf of the traders for abolition of Toll tax despite the fact that they were pulled by the Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh during his recent visit to Jammu. He also extended gratitude to Jammu traders, transporters and others for making Jammu bandh a success.
The large gathering was also addressed by the chairman of All J&K Transport Unions, TS Wazir, Jammu HC Bar Association president B S Slathia and others.