Amarnath land row: Jammu still tense, five towns under curfew

August 4th, 2008 - 12:52 pm ICT by ANI  

Amarnath Shrine

Srinagar/Jammu, Aug 4 (ANI): Five towns in Jammu region are now under curfew, even as security forces brace for strike on Monday called by a breakaway faction of the Hurriyat Conference.
Curfew was extended in Jammu and Samba Districts for the third consecutive day on Monday with the army patrolling the streets and staging a flag march at different places as the unrest over the Amarnath lland transfer row spread to Srinagar.
Curfew has also been imposed in Badarwah town of Doda District following tension in the area. Udhampur town also remains under curfew.
In Jammu, the curfew was relaxed for three hours from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Mondy.
The ongoing tension had serious fallout on Sunday, when SMS service of mobile operators was suspended in view of fast spreading rumours and transmission of programmes by two local TV channels was also suspended by the authorities.
The move sparked protests, as a large number of people defied the curfew and staged a demonstration prompting police to resort to cane-charge and fire tear gas shells.
As many as 37 people were injured in the clashes on Sunday and curfew was imposed at various places in Udhampur and Rajouri Districts.
Similar protest rallies were also taken out in Kathua District. Outskirts and peripheral areas of Jammu city were rocked with huge rallies in defiance of curfew with people shouting religious and anti-government slogans.
The 300-kilometres-long Jammu-Srinagar highway has been affected by the protests. The Army has taken over the operation of the highway for unobstructed supply of essential commodities to the Kashmir valley.
The bandh call given by Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti, a conglomerate of 35 political, social and religious organisations fighting for the restoration of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), has also spread to Poonch town, where people on Sunday started a 72-hour strike, while Ramvan will observe a three-day bandh from Monday.
The Samiti spearheading the agitation has extended the Jammu bandh by another five days from Monday.
Meanwhile, the Congress Party asked the political parties to stop playing politics over the Amarnath land revocation row and bring peace and stability in Jammu region.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi spoke to Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh on Sunday seeking his partys cooperation in controlling the ongoing agitation in Jammu.
Jammu, a predominantly Hindu region has been witnessing violent protests and agitators have been demanding restoration of forestland allotted to the SASB by the State Government for making makeshift facilities for Amarnath pilgrims. The ongoing unrest in the state is being supported by about 30 Hindu organisations. On July 1, the Jammu and Kashmir Government was forced to back down on its decision to transfer 100 acres (40.47 hectares) of forestland in Kashmir to the SASB following widespread protests in the predominantly Muslim Kashmir valley. (ANI)

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