Talks begin on Amarnath land row

August 23rd, 2008 - 12:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Aug 23 (IANS) Talks began here early Saturday between the organisation leading an agitation for the past two months on the Amarnath land row and a government panel to find a solution to the contentious issue.The Shri Amarnath Sangarash Samiti, which is being represented by a four-member panel, insists that the 40 hectares of land allotted to the shrine board be restored.

“Nothing short of it,” panel member Suchet Singh told reporters before the talks started.

The members of the special panel named by Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra for the talks refused to answer any queries posed by media personnel. The four-member panel comprises governor’s advisor (Home) Sudhir Singh 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.

They are said to have a five-point agenda for discussion - the use of the 40-hectare plot at Baltal and other facilities for pilgrims; reconstitution of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB); arrangements for the pilgrimage by the shrine board, no dilution in its powers, and assessment of the land required for the pilgrimage period.

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.

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