BJP, VHP gear up for nationwide strike

July 2nd, 2008 - 9:11 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Wednesday geared up for the success of the nationwide strike they have called Thursday to protest the cancellation of land allotment to the Amarnath shrine management. “All district-level units in all states and union territories have been directed to gear up to make this strike successful,” BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said.

“Senior BJP leaders spoke to all state unit heads today (Wednesday) to discuss the arrangements for tomorrow’s strike,” he added.

The spokesman clarified that essential services and public transport were kept out of the purview of the strike. “We do not want the common people to get harassed.”

Asked whether the state governments in the BJP-ruled states would support the strike call by absolving government employees from attending office, Javadekar said: “Wait and watch. You will see what happens tomorrow.”

Party sources said the BJP cadre would coordinate with VHP activists.

“Nobody has any right to take away the Amarnath land and claim as its own land,” VHP international general secretary Praveen Togadia said Wednesday.

“This is a big conspiracy against Hindus and if all Hindus don’t stand up against it, then the time will come when their lands and homes will also be snatched away,” he added.

Togadia appealed to all to keep the strike peaceful and asked VHP members to exempt health service, school and essential commodities from the strike and not to cause inconvenience to the old, disabled and children.

The BJP passed a resolution Tuesday, saying: “The decision of the government of Jammu and Kashmir to revoke the allotment of land to the Shree Amarnath Shrine Board for development of facilities to the pilgrims is a complete surrender to the fundamentalist and separatist forces.”

The SASB looks after the arrangements for pilgrimage to the famous cave shrine of Amarnath in the border state. Tens of thousands of devotees visit the shrine every year amid tight security.

The state government had in March allotted 40 hectares of forest land to the board for providing facilities to the pilgrims, but the opposition parties and Muslim groups in the Kashmir valley protested the move.

At least five people were killed in protests in the valley last week, forcing the Ghulam Nabi Azad government to backtrack Tuesday. However, the latest move has irked Hindu groups and Jammu region witnessed violent protests for the second day Wednesday.

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