First round of Amarnath land row talks ‘constructive’(Lead)

August 23rd, 2008 - 1:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Aug 23 (IANS) The first round of talks between the organisation leading an agitation for the past two months on the Amarnath land row and a government panel to resolve the issue concluded on an optimistic note Saturday with the two sides terming them as “cordial” and “constructive”.The talks between the Shri Amarnath Sangarash Samiti and a panel set up by Governor N.N. Vohra lasted well over one-and a-half hours during which the two sides exchanged notes and reaffirmed their faith in finding a way out of the crisis through a dialogue process.

“We have exchanged constructive views with each other and will meet again,” governor’s advisor (Home) Sudhir Singh Bloeria, who led the four-member government committee, told reporters after the meet.

However, no time frame was announced for the next round of talks.

Samiti leaders said the the talks were held in a “cordial atmosphere”.

“The dialogue shall succeed,” said Samiti spokesperson Tilak Raj Sharma.

The state government had May 26 transferred a 40-hectare plot of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board but withdrew this following protests in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley. The revocation July 1 ignited an agitation in the Hindu majority Jammu region.

The Samiti insists that the land be restored to the shrine board. “Nothing short of it,” panel member Suchet Singh had told reporters before the talks started.

The four-member government panel comprises Bloeria, retired high court judge G.D. Sharma, Jammu University vice chancellor Amitabh Mattoo and Amarnath Shrine Board CEO B.B. Vyas, who is also the governor’s principal secretary.

The other three representatives of the Samiti are Tilak Raj Sharma, Narinder Singh and Pawan Kohli.

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