Jammu man commits suicide over Amarnath land row

July 23rd, 2008 - 5:48 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Amarnath Shrine

Jammu, July 23 (IANS) A man committed suicide here Wednesday to protest the cancellation of land transfer to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), eyewitnesses and the police said. Kuldip Kumar Dogra, in his late 20s, appeared at Parade Ground in Jammu and Kashmir’s winter capital, where activists of the Amarnath Yatra Sangarash Samiti (AYSS) were on a hunger strike.

Dogra made an emotional speech to the gathering saying the revocation of the land transfer order to the shrine board had driven him desperate. He said that he was “sacrificing his life for the cause”, eyewitnesses told reporters.

Kuldip, who allegedly had consumed some poisonous substance before he made the speech, fell unconscious. He was taken to a hospital where the doctors declared him dead, the police said.

AYSS is demanding the allocation of nearly 40 hectares of forest land to the SASB, which was first diverted to the shrine board May 26 for setting up temporary prefabricated structures for pilgrims to a cave temple in Himalayas in south Kashmir.

But the issue triggered massive protests in Kashmir. Protesters in the Muslim-majority region charged the plot would be used to settle outsiders and change the demographic character of Kashmir.

The government rescinded the order July 1. That silenced the street protests in the Kashmir valley but ignited a counter agitation in Jammu, where protesters are still demanding allotment of the plot to the shrine board.

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