It is a major victory for the people of Jammu that their concern for another regional discrimination has been addressed with the sanctioning of AIIMS in Jammu as well.
Soon after the Centre asked Jammu and Kashmir Government to identify 200 acres of land each for Jammu and Srinagar for “setting up of AIIMS” in the State, the Chairman of the AIIMS Coordination Committee Abhinav Sharma while talking to reporters said: “It is good that the Centre has asked to identify 200 acres (1600 kanals) of land each in both the regions.”
Amidst a high voltage drama and vociferous reservations of a few members, the AIIMS Coordination Committee (ACC), on August 5, 2015 suspended its six-day long Jammu bandh after a written communique of the Government of Bharat regarding identifying land for setting up AIIMS at Jammu.
Union Health Ministry has constituted two teams to finalise the sites for establishment of AIIMS and the State Government has been advised to identify pieces of land measuring 200 acres each in both Jammu and Srinagar.
Now, when it become clear that AIIMS would be set up in the Jammu region also, this issue has made many things clearer than before. People of the State could not hold themselves by sensing another regional discrimination. Opposition parties stand exposed in their opportunist politics. Whole lot of analysis can be done.
Although the rationality of the decision of setting up AIIMS in the Kashmir Valley could have been debated but just because Centre planned it in that way, in spite of the fact that the Kashmir already had alike facilities, cannot be the reason to blame BJP for the inciting regionalism. The plan of setting up an AIIMS in the Kashmir Valley had already been taken by the previous government. Instead of interfering in the decision of the previous government, the present collision government had decided to set up IIT and IIM in the Jammu region and maintained status quo for the AIIMS.
Clearly, raising their voice for getting an AIIMS is the right of the people of Jammu region. But it seems the parties which over years sowed and thrived on the regionalism are blaming BJP for the same. The same politicians of National Conference and Congress have used this occasion to cultivate the ground for their regionalist politics.
Experts believe that the reaction of the people of Jammu region was the cumulative effect of the regional discrimination that they have faced during the rule of Congress and National Conference. Also, people did not respond this way when the previous government had planned an AIIMS in the Kashmir is the manifestation of the fact that people expect a lot from BJP. People’s hopes with the BJP Government are high and they feel that BJP would listen to them. BJP’s bold decision of setting up two AIIMS in one State is the authentication of their hopes.
While people of Jammu got AIIMS and they thanked BJP for its decision in many gatherings the Opposition here seems the real looser. While the politicians of Congress and National Conference tried hard to take ground in the Jammu region they have clearly been exposed of their double standard. BJP, on the other hand, has met the expectation of the people of Jammu.
Arvind (The writer is a researcher at J&K Study Center, New Delhi)