Shiv Sena protests against Centre's announcement on J

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New Delhi, Mar 2 (UNI) Taking strong exception to the Centre's announcement of a special relief package for the families of terrorists killed in Jammu and Kashmir, activists of the Shiv Sena today took to the sreets and later submitted a memorandum to President Pratibha Patil, demanding it be scrapped.

Shiv Sena North India Unit chief Jaibhagwan Goyal, who led the protestors, took a swipe at UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and said such an announcement smacked of a poll gimmick and would prove detrimental to the interests of the country.

Mr Goyal said the UPA government had failed miserably on all fronts and was resorting to such gimmicks in view of assembly elections in several states this year and the general elections next year.

Lacing his diatribe with sarcasm, he said the Centre should also ''free terrorist and death row convict Afzal Gurual and honour him with some gallantry medals.'' The Shiv Sena leader said the relief package announced by the Centre would appear bizarre because the terrorists killed in Jammu and Kashmir would be lent the halo of martyrs.

''The govermment is making ridiculous attempts to justify such a move as imperative for the development of Jammu and Kashmir, which is economically better than many other states. What is most tragic is that nobody has shown the courage to ask for an account of all the grants given to Jammy and Kashmir for combating terrorism,'' he said.

In his memorandum to the President, he said such a step was not only detrimental to the interests of the country but would also sap the morale of the gallant army personnel who were fighting the terrorists.

Mr Goyal said the Shiv Sena had requested Mrs Patil to instruct the government to withdraw this 'obnoxious' relief package.

UNI/SKS RL HT1908

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