Curfew lifted in Jammu

July 29th, 2008 - 12:32 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Amarnath Shrine

Jammu, July 29 (IANS) Curfew was lifted here Tuesday but heavy police presence to “avert any untoward incident” continued in many parts of the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir that has been rocked by violent protests against the Amarnath land transfer order revocation. “Curfew has been lifted from the entire city. No part of the Jammu zone is under restrictions now,” divisional commissioner S. Pandey told IANS.

“We hope that the situation stays normal,” he said, adding the police would be present in adequate strength in sensitive places. “We don’t want any untoward incident.”

Curfew was clamped on Jammu Monday after violent clashes between police and demonstrators seeking restoration of 40 acres of forest land in north Kashmir to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).

The allotment by the government to the shrine board May 26 was withdrawn July 1 following massive nine-day long street protests in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley. Kashmiris feared that the plot would be used to settle Hindus and change the Muslim majority character of the valley.

But the government decision to revoke the land allotment order ignited a furious response in Hindu-majority Jammu, where people felt that their religious sentiments have been hurt and the “government had succumbed to pressure of secessionist forces”.

Meanwhile Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti (AYSS), a conglomerate of nearly 30 groups spearheading the agitation, has agreed to a dialogue on its basic demands.

“Let there be a proper invite from the government in black and white as to what are they offering. Then we would be willing to sit across the table,” Leela Karan Sharma, convenor of the AYSS, told reporters.

The government ordered a judicial probe into the alleged disrespect to the body of Kuldip Kumar Dogra, who committed suicide for the “cause of the land to the shrine board” July 23.

It was alleged that the police violated religious traditions while trying to cremate Dogra’s body July 24.

The government has also ordered transfer of some senior police officers in Jammu.

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