Massive protests in Jammu, Vohra burnt in effigy

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Jammu, Jul 29 (UNI) Massive protest rallies were taken out in the winter capital city of Jammu and Kashmir today as people burnt the newly appointed Governor N N Vohra in effigy for revoking the diversion of forest land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).

Thousands of people, including women and children, took out a protest rally throughout the Old City area and burnt the the Governor in effigy outside the Raj Bhawan.

Protesters warned police of dire consequences if they tried to disrupt the rally. ''There was no police deployed even outside the Raj Bhawan where protesters staged massive demonstration and burnt Governor Vohra's effigy,'' a UNI correspondent reported.

Protesters also damaged electricity meters in the city while shouting anti-government slogans and demanding restoration of forest land to the SASB.

There has been no let up in the agitation since its upsurge after a protester allegedly committed suicide on Amarnath land row on July 23, and subsequent ''police brutality''.

Police have, however, lifted curfew from the entire city after the people defied curfew restrictions to hold demonstrations and clashed with security forces at various places in the city yesterday.

In an unexpected approach towards the ongoing agitation in Jammu, police yesterday entered into the residences of people, pelted stones at their houses and damaged private vehicles at Muthi in Domana police station area.

''Nearly 15 parked vehicles were damaged by the police, who also thrashed locals in their houses,'' said Omi Khajuria, Jammu Municipal Corporation member from Ward 65.

Several people, including children, were arrested by police from Domana police station area, sources said.

Protest demonstrations were reported from various major localities of the city in the night as people took out rallies on roads.

Protesters had blocked the Canal Road by burning tyres last night while hundreds of people took out massive rallies in the other parts of the city.

The Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (SAYSS), a conglomerate of various political and non-political parties spearheading the ongoing agitation on land row in the Winter Capital of the state, extended the Jammu bandh till July 31.

''No vehicle will be allowed to ply on the road exempting the buses carrying Amarnath and Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims,'' SAYSS convener Leela Karan Sharma told mediapersons, asserting the hotels and lodges association had assured arrangement of meals and boarding for them.

The Jammu and Kashmir Oil and Petroleum Tankers Association had also decided to discontinue the supply of petroleum products to the Valley till July 31, he informed.

''We have appealed the people of Jammu to co-operate and participate in the agitation, which is a people's movement,'' the Samiti convener said, adding that the traders had been directed to allow shopkeepers to open shops in different localities on rotation basis so that people could purchase essential commodities.

Life remained crippled in Jammu for the sixth consecutive day today as public transport remained off the roads.

All the markets and educational institutes were closed. Various political and non-political parties had joined under the banner of the SAYSS to carry on with the agitation against government's decision of revoking the order for diversion of forest land at Baltal (in South Kashmir) to the SASB for construction of temporary structures to facilitate Amarnath yatris.

UNI VJ PK UCS1758

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