Several injured in alleged police firing in Jammu

August 4th, 2008 - 5:40 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Amarnath Shrine

Jammu, Aug 4 (IANS) Several people were injured when police allegedly opened fire to disperse a protesting mob in a town on the Pathankote-Jammu National Highway as tempers ran high in the region over the Amarnath land row, sources said. At least two people were also killed in the violence, according to reports from the spot in Samba town, around 50 km from here.

However, no official comment — either confirming or denying the deaths — was available immediately.

Reports said the protesters gathered on the highway and held demonstrations seeking return of the 40 hectares of forest land in north Kashmir to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).

More than 20 people were injured in the clash with the police. And according to the reports, two injured succumbed to their wounds.

The government allotted the land to the board of Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir May 26. But the order was revoked July 1 following violent protests in the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley. The revocation silenced the protests in the valley but ignited passions in Hindu-dominated Jammu.

Some Hindu groups, united under the umbrella organisation of Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti, have been demanding the restoration of the forest land to the temple trust. The plot, according to the government, was meant for creating facilities to hundreds and thousands of pilgrims to the Himalayan shrine.

But Kashmiris allege that the land was to settle outsiders to change the Muslim-majority character of the valley.

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