JAMMU, Apr 4: Acting tough on the pending cases of 2008 Shri Amarnath Ji land row agitation, Governor NN Vohra today issued significant direction to divisional administration of Jammu, both civil and police, to submit him a compliance report within the next 20 days on the agreement reached between Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti and the then Government in August 2008.
The Governor issued these directions to Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Hemant Sharma and Inspector General of Police, Jammu Zone, Dr SD Singh Jamwal in a meeting at the Raj Bhawan in which representatives of the Sangarsh Samiti were also present, sources told the Excelsior.
Vohra’s directions assumed significance as they came close on the heels of resentment being voiced by various political and social organizations of Jammu region against the State Government for not honouring the 2008 agreement including withdrawal of First Information Reports (FIRs) even when the Government had withdrawn FIRs against first-time stone-pelters in the Kashmir valley and was considering withdrawal of cases even against the second time pelters.
Significantly, Vohra was also the Governor when the agreement between the Sangarsh Samiti and his one of the Advisors was reached on August 31, 2008. The State was under the spell of Governor rule then following withdrawal of support to Ghulam Nabi Azad Government by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in view of Shri Amarnath Ji land row agitation.
The Governor in presence of his Principal Secretary Umang Narula and representatives of the Sangarsh Samiti including Brigadier (Retd) Suchet Singh reviewed the status of 2008 agreement with divisional heads of police and civil administration and directed for expediting the process required for fulfilling various elements of the Agreement.
The issues included status of withdrawal of criminal cases registered against those involved in the agitation, payment of ex-gratia to the next of kin of deceased, creation of corpus of Rs 1 crore for creating job opportunities in the private sector for one member of the bereaved families and those who had been disabled during the course of agitation.
Sources pointed out that majority of the issues that were part of the agreement of August 2008 remained unfulfilled as National Conference-Congress coalition Government, which took over on January 5, 2009 after the Governor’s rule, made no efforts in this direction. Similarly, the PDP-BJP Government, which succeeded National Conference-Congress Government, also paid no heed towards implementation of the Agreement notwithstanding the fact that the BJP had openly supported the agitation and also reaped rich benefits by winning 11 seats in the subsequent Assembly elections as against just one in the previous Assembly.
At the meeting, the Governor directed the Divisional Commissioner and Inspector General of Police, Jammu to expedite the process required for fulfilling various elements of the agreement and sought a compliance report from them by April 24 i.e. within the next 20 days.
The two-month long unprecedented agitation in Jammu had ended on August 31, 2008 after the signing of Agreement between representatives of Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti and the then Advisors of the Governor in which almost all demands projected by the Samiti had been fulfilled. However, the Government that followed virtually didn’t implement even a part of the Agreement.
The issue of 2008 Agreement again came to limelight when Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, a BJP veteran, and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti announced withdrawal of FIRs against first-time stone pelters of Kashmir and assured to consider withdrawal of cases even against the second-time pelters as a major Confidence Building Measure (CBM).
The BJP, which is sharing power now with the PDP, though took up the issue with the Chief Minister seeking withdrawal of FIRs of 2008 Shri Amarnath Ji land row agitation in Jammu on the pattern of stone pelters in Kashmir, still no order was issued by the State Government, leading to strong resentment against the BJP Ministers. A number of political parties and social organizations openly highlighted the issue taking the BJP to task for its miserable failure to get the FIRs of 2008 Shri Amarnath Ji land agitation withdrawn.
Sources said even the RSS leadership has directed the BJP Ministers to get 2008 Agreement fulfilled including withdrawal of FIRs registered against youth during two-month long agitation, which was unprecedented in the history of Jammu.
According to sources, the issue has also been taken up with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh by some BJP leaders.