Jammu: AIIMS Row- An introspection

The Other: The demonization of the Police who resorted to lathicharge for reasons best known to them is also worrisome because they are the ones who are responsible for maintaining law and order and protecting us.

The question asking why should Srinagar get AIIMS while asking for it for ourselves, is also something many do not subscribe to. Not because they are not aware of the glaring differences in the infrastructure in Jammu and Sirnangar, or of the acute need of top class health care facility in Jammu, but because the posturing of the question is wrong and leads to an unhealthy trend in an already divided State. Before the voices being raised in mockery and jest asking for AIIMS for Udhampur, Rajouri, Poonch, Kishtwar etc on social media, take roots we must remember to expand the cause and be inclusive of everyone in the Jammu Region and the State. Even from within Jammu Regions voices have been raised as a reminder that the Region is more than just the Jammu City. Jammu needs AIIMS undoubtedly but it also needs the overhauling of the existing Institutions and a closer examination of the problems they are riddled with.

The entire Region and State is suffering due to badly run or non existent PHCs and District Hospitals. Vacant posts, lack of equipment and technicians to operate the same are true for the entire State. An AIIMS in Jammu will ease the burden undoubtedly but it is not a magic wand which will solve all the problems instantly. The existing problems run deeper than that and the protests have just scratched the surface.  We must rise and stand together across Regional and ethnic lines in asking for improved health care infrastructure for all the three regions of Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh. While doing so we must work on our methods too.

Asking for AIIMS is not a tamasha and one fevently hopes it does not become one. Health care is a fundamental right for all. Everyone irrespective of their region and ethnicity deserves care and dignity in times of sickness. ACC and the various bodies supporting it must remain conscious of the fact that Jammu is becoming more politically astute, edging past the teething troubles and coming into its own. This new Jammu will not be kind to those trying to use this Bandh as a means to forward their own personal and political ambitions at the cost of the larger cause. Jammu will also not accept leftovers or settle for crumbs. As a State and Region let’s not just cry a river over all the wrongs done to us but work on building bridges.

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