Azad urges people to resume normal activities

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Srinagar, Jun 30: A day after the Jammu and Kashmir government took over yatra arrangements after the SASB withdrew its request for forest land, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad appealed to people to resume normal activities and let peace prevail while asking politicians and other groups not to ''rake up'' an already settled issue of land transfer.

''Since the issue arising out of the government order diverting forest land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) had been resolved amicably after the board gave in writing that it did not need the land, people should resume their day-to-day activities,'' Mr Azad said in a statement here. The Chief Minister urged politicians and leaders of various groups not to put the people to inconvenience and trouble by raking up the already resolved issue.

He said following the SASB decision not to pursue with its request for the forest land for creating temporary facilities for the yatris and the state government undertaking to provide these facilities besides ensuring safety and security of the pilgrims during the period of yatra, there was no reason for anybody to disrupt normal life in the Valley which had witnessed violence during the past few days. The grave situation in the Valley resulted in the loss of several people while bringing to halt economic activities.

Mr Azad said leaders of political parties and other groups -who were still doing politics in the name of the forest land- were not friends of the poor people whose daily livelihood had been badly affected due to the violence and disruption of normal life in the Valley.

He said vendors, taxi operators, hoteliers, houseboat owners, shikarawallas, shopkeepers and labourers were put to great inconvenience and hardship.

The Chief Minister said doing politics on a resolved issue and holding the entire society to ransom was meant to deprive these sections of their livelihood.

Mr Azad regretted that the situation in Kashmir was disturbed by negative politics at a time when tourism had picked up in a great measure, generating appreciable economic activity.

He said the recent developments had dealt a severe blow to the tourism sector in the state and to all sections associated with it.

The Chief Minister said there could be any number of issues taken up by politicians for ''vote banks'' but creating a situation where poor sections of the society were denied their daily bread was highly unfortunate.

UNI

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