Curfew lifted, protests continue in Jammu

July 25th, 2008 - 5:40 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Amarnath Shrine

Jammu, July 25 (IANS) Curfew was lifted yet shops and educational institutions remained closed here Friday following a call for shutdown, sparked by a youth’s suicide over the cancellation of land allotment to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB). Despite the announcement by officials that curfew has been lifted, shops, commercial establishments and educational institutions remained closed following the strike call given by the Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti (AYSS) that was spearheading the agitation to restore land to SASB.

The samiti Thursday extended its shutdown call till Sunday evening following clashes between the police and protesters after the cremation of Kuldip Kumar Dogra, in his 20s, who committed suicide Wednesday urging the people to intensify the agitation.

The officials after reviewing the situation found that curfew was not required. “We lifted the curfew as we felt that the situation was not as tense as it was on Thursday,” an official told IANS.

Protesters continued to hold demonstrations against the government and demanded that the land be restored to SASB.

The AYSS is demanding the allocation of nearly 40 hectares of forest land to the Amarnath shrine board. The land was first diverted to the shrine board May 26 for setting up temporary prefabricated structures for pilgrims travelling to the cave shrine of Hindu god Shiva in south Kashmir.

The issue triggered massive protests in the Kashmir Valley. Protesters in the Muslim-majority region alleged that 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The government rescinded the order July 1.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 people are still demanding allotment of the plot to the shrine board.

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