Amarnath land row protests shift to Delhi

August 21st, 2008 - 3:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) Shifting the scene to the capital, members of the Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti (SASS) Thursday courted arrest here to protest the revocation of land allotted to the shrine board managing the pilgrimage to the shrine in the Kashmir valley.Amongst those arrested were Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Praveen Togadia and three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators in the Delhi assembly O.P. Babbar, Jagdish Mukhi and H.S. Bali.

Members of the SASS, a conglomerate of various organisations spearheading the protests in Jammu, marched to the offices of the deputy commissioners of police (DCP) in six places at 9.30 a.m.

“Over 7,000 members of the Samiti courted arrest under the All India Jail Bharo (fill-the-jails) agitation,” SASS spokesperson Vinod Bansal told IANS.

The genesis of the trouble lies in the Jammu and Kashmir government’s decision in May to allot 40 hectares of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board that manages the annual pilgrimage to the high altitude shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. The decision led to massive protests in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley. Its revocation July 1 ignited a counter agitation in the Hindu majority Jammu region.

The trouble has continued to snowball since with shutdowns, curfew and violent clashes that have polarised Jammu against Kashmir.

The death toll in the state in the waves of protests and counter-protests now stands at around 40.

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