Kashmiri Pandits barge into Soz’s house

July 6th, 2008 - 8:11 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Amarnath Shrine

New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) About 50 Kashmiri Pandits, protesting the revocation of the land allotment to the Amarnath shrine board, were Sunday detained after they barged into Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz’s home here. Kashmiri Pandits gathered at Jantar Mantar to voice their anger against the Jammu and Kashmir government’s decision to revoke the land transfer order.

“The protesters, including women and children, marched from Jantar Mantar to 12, Akbar Road, Soz’s residence,” a police official said.

The police detained around 50 protesters after they entered Soz’s house, breaking barricades.

Soz is a senior Congress leader from Jammu and Kashmir.

“The security forces ousted the protesters vandalizing the house, following which the Kashmiri Pandits held a sit-in outside the residence. They also burnt Soz’ effigy,” the official said.

However, the protesting Pandits denied police allegations of vandalizing the house.

“We carried out a peaceful march and were shouting slogans in front of the minister’s house when the security men deployed there misbehaved with the women and children taking part in the protest,” said Aditya Raj Kaul, a member of Roots in Kashmir group.

“The security men slapped us and the police are not registering our complaint against them,” Kaul added.

The Jammu and Kashmir government in March alloted 40 hectares of forest land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board for providing facilities to the pilgrims visiting the cave shrine of Amarnath. It cancelled the order following violent protests in the Kashmir valley, but the move last week led to another round of protests in Jammu and elsewhere.

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