Talks between government, Jammu protesters postponed

August 28th, 2008 - 6:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Aug 28 (IANS) The fourth round of talks slated for Thursday between the four-member government panel and the Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti (SASS), agitating for return of land to the Amarnath trust, was postponed till Friday. Governor N.N.Vohra was to lead the government delegation.The talks were scheduled to begin at 4.30 p.m. Thursday. On agenda was chiefly the government’s offer to give a piece of the disputed 40 hectares of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board at Baltal, in north Kashmir, during the pilgrimage period of three months. The discussions were to be held in public.

“We have been told that S.S. Bloeria, the advisor to the governor, has suffered some injury due to an accidental fall,” Suchet Singh of the Sangarsh Samiti told reporters.

The two sides had held three round of talks till Aug 23, and described these as positive and fruitful. The next round of talks was scheduled to be held Tuesday, but was deferred to Thursday due to the situation in the Kashmir Valley, where authorities prevented a march of separatists Monday.

The state government had May 26 transferred a 40-hectare plot of land to the SASB but withdrew the order following protests in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley. The revocation July 1 ignited an agitation in the Hindu-majority Jammu region.

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

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

The SASS representatives are Tilak Raj Sharma, Narinder Singh and Pawan Kohli.

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