Shutdown cripples life in Jammu and Kashmir

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Srinagar, June 27 : Protests against the allotment of forestland to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) crippled normal life in the Kashmir Valley for the fifth successive day on Friday.

Educational institutions, business establishments and several government offices remained closed in Srinagar following a shutdown call given by the Action Committee Against Land Transfer (ACLT), a group formed by the separatist Hurriyat conference to protest against the land transfer.

"The people of Kashmir have reacted very strongly against the transfer of land to the shrine board because people think they are being occupied," said Shameen Ahmad, a journalist.

Clashes between the police and youth were witnessed in some parts of Srinagar, as the city remained shut. Police burst dozens of teargas shells to chase away protestors.

Three youth have died and over 500 others injured, including scores of police and paramilitary personnel have been injured during the violent protests in various parts of the valley so far.

Security forces have been put on maximum high alert, as authorities reportedly fear that the protesters might turn violent after the Friday prayers.

Heavy deployment of police has been made around the Jamia Masjid.

The controversy has rocked the state's coalition government with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) having threatened to move out of the government on June 30 if the order transferring the forestland to SASB is not withdrawn in the next three days.

The Jammu and Kashmir Government has recently transferred nearly 40 hectares of forestland in Baltal area to the Shri Amarnath-ji Shrine Board (SASB) for 23.1 million rupees.

ANI

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