Champions of Unity and Integrity
Right from the beginning the RSS has remained worried over the growing separatism in Kashmir and it has been cautioning the Government of India about it from time to time. In 1989 the situation in Kashmir took a serious turn. The killing of Tikka Lal Tapiloo, vice president of BJP, Prem Nath Bhat, well known advocate and RSS worker, Neel Kanth Ganjoo, a judge, who awarded death sentence to the JKLF leader Maqbool Butt on charge of treason, Lassa Koul, Director, Srinagar Doordarshan Kendra, and others by the terrorists which resulted in the mass exodus of Kashmiri Hindus. At that time a joint organisation of religious and social leaders of Jammu and Kashmir was set up with the efforts of the RSS. Many delegations, organised by this Samiti, submitted several memoranda to the State and the Central Governments. On the call of the Samiti a massive rally was organised in Jammu in February 1990 in which a resolution was adopted calling upon the Government to take the adequate measures for providing suitable facilities to the displaced families. This rally was held under the chairmanship of Ved Vishnu Dutt, RSS leader. Known Akali leader, Jiwan Singh Umranangal, and the BJP leader, Kedar Nath Sahni, also participated in the convention.
In order to give practical shape to the aims or the Samiti, Jammu Kashmir Sahayata Samiti was formed under the Presidentship of Ved Vishnu Dutt. The Samiti started registering the displaced families and carried out rehabilitation of them in several public places. The Samiti issued an appeal throughout the country requesting people to donate, money, clothes and medicines for the displaced families. The RSS workers moved from door to door in the entire country and collected money and clothes which were sent to the Samiti in Jammu. This assistance continues till now without any interruption. The Samiti, with this money, is providing food, financial help, education to the children of the displaced families and medicare to the ailing migrants. The migrant camps are situated at 20 places at Udhampur, Jammu, Chenani, Riasi and Kathua and most of the migrants live in tents.
Several organisations, under the banner of the Samiti, are working for different categories of displaced families including employees and students. As a result of the efforts of the Employee's Forum the displaced employees have been given instalments of the additional dearness allowance and the Student's Forum has succeeded in getting admission for the students in different universities and professional colleges in the country. The Samiti is also assisting as per its means, the families in getting their daughters married.
The Government of India is providing Rs. 300 per head and Rs. 1,000 per family as the relief which, in the present circumstances, is much too meagre.
There is need for better measures from the State and Central Governments for these displaced families. The displaced families deserve better amenities in the camps and there is need, on the part of the Government, for looking after the requirements of the students so that whenever they return to their houses in Kashmir they are full of love for India.
Student's Kashmir Chalo march
The Kashmir "Chalo" march of September 11, 1990, organised by the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), assumes importance as it was meant to challenge the terrorists and boost the morale of the security forces in Kashmir. Youths from different parts of the country assembled in Jammu on September 11, 1990 and about 10,000 students pledged to undergo any sacrifice for Kashmir. These students had planned to march to Srinagar and hoist the national flag in Lal Chowk, but the Government did not permit it. Despite their failure to secure permission from the Government, thousands of courageous and nationalist workers carried out the march carrying the national flag. They were, however, arrested at Udhampur. After spending one night in the jail, these youths went back to Delhi where they organised a demonstration and dharna in front of the residence of the then Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, and challenged him to visit Srinagar with the National Flag. This march gave an idea of the power of youth to the central Government and the anti-national elements.
"Save Kashmir" campaign of women
The Rashtra Sevika Samiti too has played a significant role in making the countrymen realise the gravity of the situation in Kashmir and in cautioning the central Government about it. The Samiti is an All India organisation of women. This organisation organised "Save Kashmir Campaign" throughout the country between March 29 and 31, 1991. On March 31, 1991, 300 women from different parts of the country congregated in Jammu and a big group of women from Jammu joined them in taking out a procession and in organising a public rally. The women also visited the camps of the migrants where they shared views with the displaced women folk. Number of representatives of this Organisation remained active in making the State and the Central Governments aware of the miseries and difficulties of the displaced families.
Even while calling themselves secular, socialists and progressive no political party, no political leader and the leaders of the ruling party tried to awaken nationalism among the countrymen against separatism and terrorism. In this context the efforts of ABVP and Rashtra Sevika Samiti are praiseworthy even if they have been limited.
Ekta Yatra by Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi
Politicians had no courage to tell in Kashmir that India, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, is one and united. Number of Republic and Independence days passed by but the National flag could not be hoised in Lal Chowk, Srinagar. The effort of the ABVP to hoist the flag in Septemebr 1990 was sabotaged by the Government.
The BJP accepted the challenge and decided to hoist the National Flag in Lal Chowk on January 26, 1992. And the Ekta Yatra of Murli Manohar Joshi began from Kanyakumari to Kashmir on December 11, 1991. The aim of the Yatra was to make people aware of the problem and awaken the Government about the gravity of the situation in Kashmir. Wherever the Yatra reached people thought themselves linked with the trouble in Kashmir.
As the Yatra progressed, the parties politicking in the Muslim vote bank, which included the Congress, the Janata Dal, CPI(M), CPI, Muslim League and other communal organisations, started getting nervous and uncomfortable. These very parties had watered and fertilised the Kashmir problem. Ekta Yatra was exposing their real face in front of the people. Therefore, all these parties were compelled to oppose this Yatra.
The Yatra received full response from the people. Starting frorn the South, it passed through Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh to reach Delhi. From Delhi it passed through Haryana, Punjab to reach Jammu. The Central Government was losing its ground and the appeals from the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister for abandoning the Yatra proved futile. The Government tried to unnerve the Yatris by saying that it was not possible to provide security to all and the militants could do anything. But the result was different and each day the number of Yatris increased.
The most challenging task for it was to trek between Jammu and Srinagar. At least 50,000 volunteers reached Jammu with the aim of marching to Srinagar under the leadership of Murli Manohar Joshi.
It is interesting that officers in the State administration and Army officers were happy over this Yatra. They were ready to take up the responsibility of providing security to the Yatris but this course was not beneficial for the ruling party in the centre. The leaders of the ruling party were so weak that they were not prepared to face any challenge.
The sign of weakness was apparent on the face of the ruling party leaders but not on the faces of Dr. Joshi and other Yatris. It seemed the yatris were prepared for any sacrifice and when they had left their homes, they had it in their mind that anytime they could achieve martyrdom. There was a difference in such sacrifice. It was not a sacrifice of a sacrificial lamb but of a courageous lion. The Yatris were so much excited that they were ready to pounce upon the terrorists and snatch arms from them to finish them. On seeing the zeal of the Yatris the BJP had announced that "we" will protect our lives ourselves if the Government cannot make security arrangements.
On one hand the Yatris were on the march and on the other threats from militants, "we will not allow even a single Yatri to reach Srinagar", increased. They even threatened that they would send the dead bodies of Yatris as a gift to India.
All the efforts of the Government to stop the Yatra failed. The Government announced that the Jammu-Srinagar highway had been closed because of landslides and cautioned the Yatris against marching forward. The marchers took it as a trick of the Government. They were not ready to stop and the Government was not prepared to allow them to proceed. Tension mounted. Those Yatris who were in cars moved ahead. It was decided in Jammu that some Yatris could accompany Government officials and ascertain whether the road was closed or not. On January 25 some of the Yatris left for Srinagar but the advance party of Yatris had come back after having ascertained that the road was blocked because of the landslides. Everybody returned to Jammu.
It would have taken atleast three to four days to remove the landslides and by that time January 26 would have gone. And immediately the plan was altered. Dr. Joshi too returned to Jammu and it was decided to fly to Srinagar in a helicopter. After crossing over many hurdles Dr. Joshi flew to Srinagar on the morning of January 26. About 40 people, which included some MPs and journalists, reached Srinagar.
As per the earlier announcement Dr. Joshi hoisted the tri-colour in Lal Chowk in the morning of Janualy 26. The MPs, journalists and Army officers, who were present there, shouted "Bharat Mata ki Jai" to canvey to the world India's power and authority.
The hoisting of the tricolour in Lal Chowk was a slap on the face of Pakistan, attack on the plans of terrorists and an exposure to the indecisive Kashmir policy framed by the weakhearted Central Government. It was a symbol of strong determination of Ekta Yatris, successful scheme of the Kashmir administration and the strength and capacity of the Indian Army.
The event proved that whenever the Central Government adopted a clear and strong policy on Kashmir, the same day the Indian Army would free Kashmir of all the tensions. The current indecisive and weak policy has fettered the Indian Army.
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