BJP calls for general strike to protest revocation of land to SASB

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New Delhi, Jul 1 (UNI) Strongly protesting the Jammu and Kashmir goverment's decision to revoke 40 hectares of land allotted to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), the BJP today called for a nationwide general strike on July three alleging that the decision amounted to total surrender to the fundamentalists and separatist forces.

A decision to observe nationwide 'hartal' was taken by a Central Office Bearers' meeting convened by BJP President Rajnath Singh this evening. ''The decision to take back the land allotted is nothing but a surrender like in the case of Congress regime in the Shah Banoo case,'' Mr Singh told newspersons after the meeting.

The meet also adopted a resolution condeming the decision of the State Government. The JK government today revoked the land allotted to SASB sparking off protests from the VHP, BJP and Sangh Parivar outfits.

The BJP would organise protest rallies in major cities and towns of the country from July four to 11. Asked if the strike was different from the 'bandh' announced by the VHP, Mr Singh said everyone had their own ways of protesting. The BJP stood firmly for abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution which accorded special status to the most geographically sensitive state of the country.

He said the JK government's decision at the behest of the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre was against the basic tenets of secularism and Parliament had always unanimously approved all spendings meant for any religious group, be it for the Haj yatra or to organise Urs festivals.

Mr Singh said whatever was happening in JK was with the consent of the Union Government and the Centre can't escape its share of responsibilities.

Urging for the restoration of land alloted to the SASB for creating temporary infrastructure for Amarnath pilgrims, the BJP President said the environmental degradation argument would not hold water as such arguments were placed before the JK High Court. The allotment was made after securing the clearances from the Forest and Environment Departments and the SASB had even paid a lease amount of Rs 2.5 crore to the state government. To cancell the land allotment at this stage buckling under pressure of the separatist elements was totally unfair, he said.

Asked if the allotment controversy had vitiated normal life in the Valley, Mr Singh said the BJP was for peace to prevail throughout the country including J&K.

To a question regarding the suggestion to reconstitute the SASB, Mr Singh said it was important to know who was making this demand and for what purpose.

He informed that he had spoken to Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil seeking his intervention and prevent revocation of the land allotment to the SASB However, instead of prevailing upon the state government, the Centre has allowed to deepen the crisis. The BJP wanted allotment of the land with the same terms and conditions on which the state government had initially taken the decision, Mr Singh said UNI MCN KAS AKJ ND1942

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