Jammu remains paralysed on day 8

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Jammu, Jul 31 (UNI) Tension on the Amarnath land row continued to dominate the Jammu region on the eighth day consecutive today while the Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (SAYSS) has decided to intensify its struggle by consolidating agitation in rural areas.

Though the SAYSS agreed to hold talks with Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra it categorically said it would not divert an inch from its primary demand of restoration of forest land in south Kashmir to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board.

A huge number of protesters, including school children and senior citizens, from rural areas rallied to the Parade Ground in the city.

''Thousands of protesters carrying canes and shouting 'bham bham bhole' reached Parade Ground on two-wheelers, minibuses and load carriers,'' sources said.

Several rounds of high-level talks were held in a bid to find an amicable solution to the agitation that continues to paralyse life with people taking out massive protest rallies throughout the Jammu region.

DGP Kuldeep Khuda and Principal Secretary (Home) Anil Goswami were camping at Jammu and held talks with the SAYSS leadership yesterday. They handed over a formal invitation for dialogue with the Governor. ''We have accepted the invitation for talks but nothing will be decided without examining the proposals from the administration,'' SAYSS convener Leela Karan Sharma told reporters.

Staying firm on its demand for restoration of land, Mr Sharma said, ''We are firm with our stand and no second thoughts will be given to any of the proposals unless the independence of the Shrine Board be restored.'' After the meeting of the SAYSS constituents this evening, it was decided to extend Jammu bandh up to August 3.

Notwithstanding strict police action, people continued to hold massive demonstrations in Jammu and other places as life remained paralysed on the seventh consecutive day.

Massive protests on Amarnath land row continued in the entire Jammu region with complete shutdown being observed in small towns of Samba, Kathua, Reasi, Udhampur and Rajouri districts, reports said.

People at several places in the city and out skirting areas burnt tyres and put blockages on the already deserted roads connecting city, reports said.

Protest rallies are being taken out in the city as well as rural areas in response to the ongoing agitation.

Torch rallies throughout the city during night hours have become a daily feature to lodge protest against the government for revoking the order diversion of land to the SASB.

Protesters also continued with damaging electronic electricity meters installed in the houses and other establishments in the city.

Stone pelting by protesters and tear gas shelling by police in retaliation were reported from some places in the city and out skirting areas.

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 had imposed curfew in Jammu district to meet the situation but people defied restrictions and entered into violent clashes with police and paramilitary forces.

The Jammu and Kashmir Oil and Petroleum Tankers Association has also decided to discontinue the supply of petroleum products.

The leaders said the agitation would continue till their demands of restoration of land to the SASB and removal of Governor N N Vohra were met.

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