Signature campaign to get land restored to shrine board

July 15th, 2008 - 1:13 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Amarnath Shrine

Jammu, July 14 (IANS) The agitation for restoration of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board gathered momentum Monday with activists launching a massive signature campaign on the issue. Several stalls were set up in different parts of Jammu city where people from all walks of life, mostly women, put their signatures on a memorandum addressed to President Pratibha Patil urging her to intervene and get the land restored to the shrine board.

The government had diverted 40 hectares of land to the shrine board on May 26, which was subsequently cancelled following a high-voltage agitation in the Kashmir Valley in which six people died and several others were wounded. The July 1 decision of the government to rescind the order ignited a counter agitation in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region.

“We are gathering signatures and hope to get millions to sign it before we send it to the president,” said Shanta Kumari of Kacchi Chwani area after signing the memorandum.

This campaign was started Monday, the day Governor N.N. Vohra arrived in Jammu. Those leading the agitation held a black flag demonstration outside Raj Bhavan to protest against his decision to relinquish claim on the land.

However, Vohra in his statements and media interviews has stated that neither was the land given to the shrine board nor it was taken away.

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