Mukherjee, Patil with all-party delegation to visit Jammu

August 7th, 2008 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Shivraj Patil

Jammu, Aug 7 (IANS) An all-party delegation, including External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister Shivraj Patil, will visit Jammu Saturday to find a solution to the impasse over land for the Amarnath shrine management. The state administration has also invited protesters here for talks. Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra Wednesday formed a panel for talks with the Shri Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti (SASS), a conglomerate of more than 30 groups leading an agitation here for more than a month.

The panel members Thursday held discussions with the governor on the issue, sources in Raj Bhavan said.

Subsequently, a letter inviting the Samiti for talks was sent to its convenor Leela Karan Sharma.

Vohra later told a group of reporters that the all-party delegation, including Mukherjee and Patil, will arrive in Jammu Saturday.

He said there was no “economic blockadeā€ of the Kashmir Valley and the traffic movement on all highways connecting the valley with Jammu region was normal.

He said the Army Northern Command’s helicopters would mount an aerial vigil of the highways and railway tracks.

Jammu continued to witness protests Thursday despite curfew but the protests remained peaceful.

The state government’s decision in May this year to allot about 40 hectares of forest land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) for pilgrim facilities led to violent protests in the valley. As the government withdrew the order July 1, there have been protests in Jammu region, threatening to divide the border state on communal lines.

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