Movement of traffic resumes on Jammu-Srinagar national highway

August 13th, 2008 - 9:36 pm ICT by ANI  

Amarnath Shrine

Jammu/Srinagar/New Delhi, August 13 (ANI): Movement of traffic resumed on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway with vehicles, guarded by policemen and soldier, plying on the 300-kilometre road.

Kashmir valley was facing shortage of essential commodities for some time as protesters in Jammu had blocked the arterial highway, over the issue of land transfer to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).

Protesting against what residents in Kashmir said was a blockade, tens of thousands of Kashmiris marched to the de facto border with neighbouring Pakistan on Monday to sell their goods, sparking the deadly clashes with police.

Authorities have denied any economic blockade and said trucks, guarded by policemen and soldiers, are plying on the Kashmir valley route.

There never was an economic blockade. Though an effort was made by the activists to block the national highway, which resulted in disruption of traffic. But, the highway was opened by the army and paramilitary forces and now the highway is open and daily a large number of trucks are plying on it, said Shri Prakash Jaiswal, Minister of State for Home Affairs.

Police fired teargas shells to disperse thousands of Muslim protesters who defied a curfew at several places across Kashmir Valley, police said.

The land dispute has polarised Kashmir, split between the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley and the Hindu-dominated region around Jammu city.

The dispute began after the Kashmir government promised to give forestland to the trust that runs Amarnath shrine. Many Muslims were enraged.

The government then rescinded its decision, which in turn angered Hindus in Jammu who attacked lorries carrying supplies to Kashmir valley.

The communal tensions of the region have not stoked passions elsewhere in the country but people fear general elections due next year could lead to the politicisation of the issue.

Flag-waving Hindu protesters halted traffic on Wednesday along highways leading into New Delhi. They blocked highways and stopped trains in several northern Indian cities, demanding the land back. (ANI)

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