Protestor's suicide sparks agitation in Jammu

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Jammu, Jul 23 (UNI) A strong wave of protests again struck the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir after a youth, who was participating in the ongoing agitation of Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti (AYSS) for restoration of forestland to the SASB, allegedly committed suicide today.

Soon after news of suicide by one Kuldeep Kumar Dogra (33), resident of Tallab Tillo, at Parade Ground here, hundreds of people took to the streets to protest against the government.

''The youth, who had joined the ongoing protest, appeared at the venue, where the AYSS was holding a chain hunger strike this afternoon, in a subconscious state. He made an emotional speech. He also recited a poem and fell down soon after finishing it,'' an eyewitness told UNI.

Dogra was immediately shifted to the Government Medical College where the doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.

News of his death spread in the city like wildfire. The shopkeepers downed shutters while hundreds of people took to the streets and burnt tyres and held massive demonstrations against the government.

The activists of the saffron brigade took out protest rallies on two-wheelers throughout the city raising anti-government slogans.

However, the civil administration deployed state police and paramilitary personnel all across the city to maintain law and order.

''There were protests in the city in the evening but the situation is under control,'' Mr K Rajendra, IGP Jammu told UNI.

A probe has been ordered into Kuldeep's death, who had allegedly consumed some poisonous substance before reaching the dharna site.

The AYSS is demanding the allocation of about 40 hectare of forest land to the SASB (Shri Amarnath Shrine Board).

Meanwhile, the AYSS called for a complete shutdown in Jammu.

The land was first diverted to the SASB on May 26 for setting up temporary prefabricated structures for pilgrims to the cave shrine in south Kashmir, but after it was made an issue that triggered massive protests in the valley, the government revoked the previous order on July 1.

While this helped pacify the Muslim majority in the state but stirred massive protests in Jammu region.

Various political and non-political parties in Jammu joined under the banner of the AYSS to continue with the protest for allotment of forest land to the SASB.

UNI VJ BDP RN2139

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