JAMMU — Barring the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), almost every political party in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday supported the bandh call given by traders’ body on September 22 against the setting up of 100 retail outlets by Reliance company alone in Jammu.
The National Conference announced its support to the Jammu bandh on September 22 called by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jammu against the alleged “anti-trade and commerce moves of the administration”.
“National Conference has all along stood for safeguarding the interests of Jammu and Kashmir and will continue so with a sense of commitment”, NC spokesperson said in a statement, while extending full solidarity to the trade, commerce and industry.
The spokesman expressed hope that the administration will see reason in its “anti-business and anti-poor policies” and take corrective measures, rather than coming up with move after move that “hurt the overall interests” of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Peaceful protests by way of bandhs is a democratic way of registering anguish over the governmental policies”, the spokesperson said and urged the administration to roll back the decisions which are against the “legitimate interests of trade and commerce”.
The Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers party leadership also extended full support and solidarity to the small, medium and self-employed shopkeepers and retail traders who have given call for total bandh on September 22 in entire Jammu province in protest against the opening of 100 Reliance stores “only to break the back bone of poor business class of Dogras”.
As per a statement, a meeting of the party was held at Jammu under the chairmanship of JKNPP President, Prof Bhim Singh, wherein the leadership criticised the local and national leadership of BJP and the Union government for initiating all such economic activities.
“Opening of 100 retail stores in Jammu province alone by Reliance amounts to high cheating of small traders and self employed educated youth,” the JKNPP said.
The Apni Party Provincial President for Jammu, Manjit Singh, has also extended support to the Jammu bandh call on September 20.
In a statement, Manjit Singh said that the Apni Party extends support to the demands of Jammu business community which has suffered a lot from the last three years and now with the report of opening of Reliance stores.
Criticizing the opening of high-profile stores in Jammu, he said that it will have adverse impact on the whole sellers and small retailers of Jammu province who are already facing problems due to low business prospects.
“Jammu traders have suffered from the last three years, and if the government, instead of taking decisions in their favour, permits opening of Reliance stores, it will have a direct adverse effect on the business community,” he said.
He further said that hundreds of families are dependent upon trade and thousands of employees are associated with trade which is facing negligence from the government.
“The government must come clear over the decision and not compel the businessmen towards the wall. It is unfortunate, and Reliance should not be allowed to open such stores in Jammu,” he said.
He said that the Apni Party supports the demands of businessmen and will leave no stone unturned to highlight their demand so that it can be accepted.
“Therefore, we support a peaceful bandh call in Jammu,” he further said.
The Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party (DSSP) also extended support to traders. As per a press release, a delegation of DSSP led by its president Chaudhary Lal Singh visited the office of Chamber of Commerce to listen to the grievances of the business community.
Leaders of the chamber of commerce briefed Chaudhary Lal Singh about their issues and asked for the support of DSSP.
While responding to the business community, he said that he has always stood for the cause of Jammu and his party is dedicated to the cause of the whole of Jammu province. “It is shocking to see that our business community, which is the spine of any society, is so badly hit,l that they have been compelled to come on roads. I have been fighting against all these anti-people policies since long and assure you that I will keep on fighting for the cause of Jammu and its people till my people feel free and breathe in the open air of democracy in the real spirit.
Chaudhary Lal Singh also said that the DSSP extended all possible support to the Chamber for all the genuine demands and expressed solidarity with all the agitating organizations of Jammu province including daily wages, farmers, unemployed youth and many others.