Azad or no Azad, Amarnath land protests to continue

July 7th, 2008 - 7:54 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

Jammu, July 7 (IANS) The agitation against the cancellation of land transfer to the Amarnath shrine authorities would continue, protesters said after the Ghulam Nabi Azad government in Jammu and Kashmir fell Monday. “The agitation will continue. The fall of the government will not impact it,” declared Leela Kiran, convenor of the Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti that has been leading the agitation here.

Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), important components of the agitation in Jammu that has paralysed the city life since June 30 and led to imposition of curfew and police firing, too echoed the view.

“The Azad government was the culprit of playing with the religious sentiments of the people of Jammu and the rest of the country. But its fall has not resulted in the change in the cancellation of the land transfer,” BJP’s state unit president Ashok Khajuria told a press conference.

“Unless the land is restored, it matters little who rules the state,” he said.

VHP national secretary Surinder Jain, at another media conference, said: “The agitation would continue till our basic objective is achieved.”

Jammu is observing a complete shutdown since June 30, demanding that the 40 hectares of land be restored to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).

The state government had in March allotted the land in north Kashmir to the board to provide facilities to the pilgrims visiting the Hindu cave shrine of Amarnath. It withdrew the order following violent protests in the Kashmir Valley last month - a move that provoked protests in Jammu region.

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