JAMMU, July 23: A youth taking part in the chain hunger strike against cancellation of forest land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) today sacrificed his life after consuming poison in protest against the remarks of National Conference chief, Omar Abdullah in Parliament yesterday that the land to Amarnath shrine Board will be returned only over dead bodies of the Kashmiris.
Following death of the youth, the activists of Sangarsh Samiti and other organisations went on a rampage in the City pelting stones on moving vehicles and enforcing a bandh in some City areas. The mob also ransacked mortuary of Government Medical College, Jammu and twice lifted body of the martyr to shift it to the venue of dharna. The Samiti has given a call for Jammu bandh tomorrow. The Bar Association Jammu has also called for a bandh tomorrow.
Identified as Kuldeep Kumar Dogra of Talab Tillo, the youth who joined the hunger strike launched by the Sangarsh Samiti in front of Brahman Sabha this afternoon fell unconscious while delivering a speech in protest against Omar Abdullah’s statement this afternoon.
Commenting on Omar’s remarks, the youth said that NC chief had stated in Lok Sabha yesterday that Kashmiris will die instead of transferring the land to SASB and “I would show Mr Abdullah how the people of Jammu too can sacrifice their lives to get back the land”.
Soon after his remarks, the youth fell unconscious and was taken to GMC hospital where doctors declared him brought dead. As the news of youth’s sacrifice spread, a large number of people took to streets in the city and its outskirts and resorted to road blockades. The shopkeepers in many areas including Talab Tillo and Bohri downed their shutters.
The protesting youth with banners in their hands also shouted slogans against Mr Abdullah and held him responsible for the incident.
They demonstrated in Parade Ground near the venue of hunger strike and hundreds of youth reached the GMC hospital from where they forcibly shifted the dead body to Parade Ground where it was kept for paying tributes by the people. The protesting youths also ransacked the mortuary in GMC, tore its records and also broke window panes of newly constructed emergency building in hospital.
However, the body was later shifted by police to the GMC for post-mortem which was conducted by the Board of Doctors constituted by Dr Romesh Gupta, Medical Superintendent, GMC Jammu. The prominent doctors in the Board include Dr Kuldeep Dogra, Dr Ratnakar and Dr Brahm Dutt.
However the protesting youth again took the body to Parade Ground and did not allow its cremation.
After the sacrifice of life by Kuldeep Kumar Dogra, youths fanned out in different parts of the City especially Parade Ground, Jewel Chowk, Talab Tillo and other areas and subjected matadors and other vehicles to heavy stone pelting. Transport in several areas went off the road while shopkeepers downed their shutters voluntarily.
Most parts of the City observed a spontaneous bandh.
Youth also assembled at Bohri, Talab Tillo, Gandhi Nagar, Muthi and Barnai and staged protest and blocked roads. The vehicular traffic also came to a grinding halt on Jammu, Akhnoor road after the activists of Sangarsh Samiti erected barricades on the road.
Sangarsh Samiti chairman Leela Karan Sharma said a suicide note has also been recovered from pocket of the youth which is lying with Bakshi Nagar Police. In this note, the youth was reported to have said that he was making sacrifice for a supreme cause and tributes be paid to him only after the goal of getting land back for the SASB is achieved, he added.
Mr Sharma said all business establishments and transporters will observe a complete bandh tomorrow in protest against callousness of the Government.
In response to a question regarding indefinite bandh, Mr Sharma said he can’t alone take a decision in this regard as it has to be decided by Samiti which is a conglomerate of over 35 organizations.
He said Samiti has the support of all Jammu organizations including some political parties. Even the activists of Congress and NC have also been supporting our struggle, he added.
Mr Sharma said the people have been giving an overwhelming support to the Sangarsh Samiti in its struggle and nine days bandh call. But he didn’t want to add to the problems of those people by giving an indefinite bandh call who didn’t have even ration in their houses, he added.
He said the Samiti has given a call asking the Jammuites to join the present struggle irrespective of their caste, creed and religion.
Leela Karan, while lambasting Omar Abdullah for his remarks on SASB land, said that in case the Kashmiris posses such a feeling towards the Hindu shrines then Jammuites will be forced to evacuate them from Bhatandi and other places in Jammu where they have constructed the posh Kohtis.
Meanwhile, today was the fourth day of the chain hunger strike launched by the Samiti. A conglomeration of 35 political, social and religious organizations, the Samiti had coordinated the nine-day Jammu bandh from June 30 during the agitation’s first phase.
Meanwhile, the chain hunger strike of Sangarsh Samiti in other district and tehsil headquarters of Jammu also continued today.
.Dogra Liberation Front chief, Ram Paul has claimed that the martyr Kuldeep Kumar was its staunch activist.
Hindu Shiv Sena (HSS) has announced Rs 15,000 for the bereaved family. Sena president Krishan Manhas has also appealed the Sangarsh Samiti and other social organizations to make generous donations for the bereaved family.
Some paras of poem recited by Kuldeep Kumar few minutes before his death at Parade are as follow.
“Bigul Baj Raha Hain Andolan Ka Gagan Goonjta Hain Naroon Sai.”
“Mila Rahi Hain Aaj Jammu Ki Miti Nazar Sitaroon Sai.”
“Ek Baat Kehni Hain Laikin Aaj Desh Key Piaroon Sai.”
“Janta Sai, Loogoon Sai, Foojiyoon Ki Khadi Kataroon Sai.”
“Sambal Kai Rehna Apnay Ghar Main Chupay Huyay Gadaroon Sai.”
“Jhank Rahai Hain Apnay Dushman Apnay Hi Devaroon Sai.”
“Sanbal Kai Rehna Apnay Ghar Mian Chupay Huyay Gadaroon Sai.”
“Jago Tumko Dogron Ki Jagir Ki Raksha Karni Hain.”
“Jago Tumko Lakhoon Ki Takdir Ki Raksha Karni Hain.”
Abi Jo Bani Hai Us Tasveer Ki Raksha Karni Hain.’’