BJP threatens nationwide protest over shrine land

June 29th, 2008 - 10:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Ranchi, June 29 (IANS) The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday threatened to launch a nationwide protest against the Jammu and Kashmir government’s move to retain with itsellf the 40 hectares of land it had given to the Amarnath shrine authorities. BJP president Rajnath Singh in Ranchi said his party would go for a nationwide agitation if the land were taken back from the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).

The party’s national vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the central government should rush in adequate paramilitary forces to control the situation in the state.

“There is a need to send a strong message to the separatist and anti-national forces to save the sovereignty of India and autonomy of the SASB. Any surrender on this issue would only spark off nationwide protests,” Naqvi said in a statement in New Delhi.

“The decision to revoke the transfer of the land to the SASB will be tantamount to an absolute surrender before separatist and terrorist forces and compromising national unity, integrity and sovereignty,” he said.

The state has been witnessing violent protests ever since the government decided to give 40 hectares of forest land to the SASB to provide facilities for Amarnath pilgrims.

Many parties and Muslim organisations fear the board would make permanent structures on the land. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), an ally of the ruling Congress, withdrew from the government Saturday, creating a crisis.

“The transfer of land to the temple board is a golden opportunity to provide a healing touch to the minority Hindu community in the state. It will help build bridges of harmony and understanding between the people of Kashmir and the rest of the state and the country,” Naqvi said.

The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the BJP demanded immediate removal of Governor N.N. Vohra, alleging that he acted as an “agent of the Congress” in handing back 40 hectares of forest land from the SASB.

The party has given a call for Jammu shutdown Monday.

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