Amarnath land row: Curfew continues in Jammu

July 28th, 2008 - 2:38 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Amarnath Shrine

Jammu, July 28 (IANS) Indefinite curfew continued here Monday as other major towns and cities of the Jammu region observed shutdown for the fifth consecutive day against the Amarnath land transfer order revocation. The authorities enforced the restrictions strictly as people in many parts of the walled city of Jammu tried to hold demonstrations against the revocation, an issue that has rocked the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir for almost a month now.

The protesters were chased back to their homes by stick-wielding policemen, according to officials.

Police vehicles fitted with loudspeakers made repeated announcements warning people against violating the prohibitory orders. There was unprecedented deployment of police in some sensitive places in the city.

Other major towns of the Jammu region, including Udhampur, Kathua, Reasi, Samba, Ranbirsinghpora, Bishnah, Rajouri and Bhaderwah, observed complete shutdown on the call of the Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti that is spearheading the agitation for the restoration of 40 hectares of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).

Jammu has been reeling under a spell of shutdowns and curfews since July 1 when the government cancelled its May 26 order of allocating nearly 40 hectares of forest land to the SASB.

The board manages the annual Himalayan pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir, at an altitude of 3,888 metres, dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the Hindu trinity.

The government was forced to cancel the order following massive protests in the Kashmir valley, triggered by the widespread perception that the land would be used for settling non-locals to change the Muslim-majority character of the valley.

The government’s reversal of the decision helped the valley protests die down but the Hindu-majority Jammu region erupted in anger.

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