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Jammu AIIMS protest shutdown extended by 72 hours

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Jammu: Ignoring appeals to call off their protest shutdown on the AIIMS issue in Jammu region, the agitation committee spearheading the stir on Sunday extended their shutdown by another 72 hours.

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“The utter failure of the untrustworthy central government to announce a full-fledged All India Institute of Medical Sciences for Jammu region has forced the AIIMS coordination committee to extend the ‘bandh’ to August 5,” local Bar Association president Abhinav Sharma told the media here on Sunday.

Abhinav Sharma, who heads the AIIMS coordination committee, said the panel hoped that the massive public response the stir call evoked across Jammu would make the BJP to read the writing on wall, but it was not to be.

“The BJP yet again betrayed the people of the Jammu region by taking recourse to white lies to hoodwink and mislead the people. We understand BJP’s deception and mischief,” he said.

The state BJP on Sunday appealed to the AIIMS agitation committee to call off its protest shutdown in the city, which was to end on Sunday, and blamed the opposition Congress and the National Conference of trying to create confusion over the sensitive issue.

“Since the demand for an AIIMS for Jammu has been fulfilled, there is no justification in continuing with the agitation spearheaded by the coordination committee,” Bharatiya Janata Party state president and parliamentarian Jugal Kishore Sharma told media persons at the party headquarters here.

Commenting on the BJP assurance, the bar association president said, “The AIIMS Act does not allow what union Health Minister J.P. Nadda tweeted on July 30 and what the cornered BJP ministers here in Jammu and Kashmir are trying to make the people of Jammu to believe.”

“No AIIMS in India can ever have two presidents, two vice chancellors, two governing bodies and two directors. What they are saying is a gross violation of the Act and an act of criminal disinformation,” Abhinav Sharma said.

“Nowhere in India has the AIIMS been divided into two parts or two campuses because it will defeat the very purpose of the institution. All India Institute of Medical Sciences (Amendment) Act 2012 clearly says that to establish an AIIMS, it is mandatory to issue a notification specifying the place and the state where the AIIMS is to be established,” the AIIMS coordination committee head said.

“Breaking AIIMS into parts and setting them in various parts of the state defeats the very purpose of the medical research institution. The BJP ministers have only made a mockery of themselves and exposed their abject ignorance of the issue,” he said.

Abhinav Sharma said that the competent authorities in New Delhi should issue a notification as per the Act to establish AIIMS in Jammu in the current financial year, without indulging in vague and misleading statements.

(IANS)

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Return to Jammu- A Novel About a Journey

The author has superbly captured the life of the kid in a cantonment, growing up with two sisters, his mother's struggle to run the house on a tight budget and his father, a happy-go-lucky man, who avoids the responsibilities of a good husband.

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JAmmu and Kashmir
Sanasar, Jammu and Kasmir- wikimedia commons

This is the engrossing tale of Balan, a kid from South India who grows up in the towns of Punjab, Jammu and Haryana. It captures the eventful journey of Balan’s childhood, his schooling, and the friends he makes and loses due to transfers of his father, serving in the Indian Army.

“Return to Jammu” is a first-person narration and with the timelines, places and real-life personalities and events, the reader gets a feeling that it is an autobiographical novel. The author clarifies that all characters and the story per se are fictional but confesses to borrowing liberally from many episodes of his childhood in telling the story.

“If you happen to be acquainted with me enough to perceive a passing resemblance of me in Balan, you would be right; and yet if you find the resemblance rather tenuous and liberally adulterated, you will be equally right too,” says the author in a preliminary note.

Settled in Jammu, Balan is admitted into grade two, though just four years and seven months old. He remains younger and tinier than his peer group all through his schooling and even in college.
V. Raghunathan-Author of the book Return to Jammu, wikimedia commons

Balan, son of a junior commissioned officer hailing from Kerala and having Tamilian roots, is born in the Ambala cantonment in 1954. He narrates his story even before his birth, relying on family tellings.

The author has superbly captured the life of the kid in a cantonment, growing up with two sisters, his mother’s struggle to run the house on a tight budget and his father, a happy-go-lucky man, who avoids the responsibilities of a good husband.

He describes vividly how the family shifts to Jammu on his father’s transfer, giving even the minutest details of their belongings, and of their journey to Jammu via Pathankot.

Settled in Jammu, Balan is admitted into grade two, though just four years and seven months old. He remains younger and tinier than his peer group all through his schooling and even in college. Because of his diminutive size, he is saddled with sobriquets like pocket edition, Lilliputian and Madrasi, and sees his self-esteem falling dangerously.

He describes vividly how the family shifts to Jammu on his father's transfer, giving even the minutest details of their belongings, and of their journey to Jammu via Pathankot.
Jammu and Kashmir Map, wikimedia commons

It’s at Satwari near Jammu that he develops childhood friendship with many, most importantly with Jeevan Asha or Jeesha, who was two years older and also taller than him. Soon, however, Balan’s father is again transferred to Ambala and he is separated from his friends, especially Jeesha. He writes letters to his friends and receives responses from all, except Jeesha.

Overcoming all odds and with hard work, Balan completes his studies and joins the State Bank of India. Now a confident young man, he works hard and finally makes it to the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad. (It was at IIM, Ahmedabad, that the author taught finance.)

Also Read: 70 years after Independence power reaches Elephanta Isle near Mumbai 

There he comes across a girl called Jasmine Pundith. He believes she is his good old buddy Jeesha. Bu she shows no sign of recognition and when he tries to remind her about their childhood friendship, Jasmine tells him that she is a citizen of the US and has no link with Jammu.

Convinced that she is none other than Jeesha, Balan travels to Delhi to find out more about her family. He even returns to Jammu, where he meets her brother Niranjan. What Balan comes to know from him forms the climax of the story.

The book is worth a read also for the author’s eye for detail, whether it is canal system of Jammu, the picturesque Kashmir valley, especially Uri, the pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi, or a visit by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. (IANS)