Jammu shutdown continues for eighth day

July 31st, 2008 - 4:53 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Amarnath Shrine

Jammu, July 31 (IANS) Jammu shut down for the eighth consecutive day Thursday over demands that land be restored to the Amarnath shrine board, as the stage was being set for the first round of talks between Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra and leaders of the agitation. All business establishments and educational institutions were closed and traffic stayed off the road as one more day of the shutdown called by Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti, a conglomerate of 30 groups, came into effect. The strike is slated to continue till Sunday evening.

Vohra is scheduled to start a dialogue with leaders of the Samiti to end the impasse.

Although most of Wednesday had passed off peacefully, there was violence late evening in Samba, Kathua and Vijay Pur areas with protesters blocking the Jammu-Pathankot highway and smashing windowpanes of trucks and buses.

Several hundred tyres were burnt and in some parts of the city, protesters chanted Lord Shiva’s name - the Amarnath shrine is dedicated to the Hindu god - and shouted slogans denouncing the governor and National Conference president Omar Abdullah for his speech during the trust vote debate in parliament.

The Jammu and Kashmir government had allotted 40 hectares to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) that manages the pilgrimage to the shrine. However, it retracted its decision leading to furious protests in Hindu dominated Jammu.

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