All political parties appeal for peace in Jammu

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New Delhi, Aug 7: Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and all political parties to help in restoring peace in the state at the all-party meet to discuss Amarnath land issue.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) leaders were briefed on the latest situation in Jammu and related developments by Patil and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad. Mukherjee further added that the all parties also favoured more and more facilities to the Amarnath pilgrims like shelter, security and transportation.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Defence Minister A K Antony, National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah, Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Peopple's Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury, Janata Dal (United) President Sharad Yadav, Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh and CPI leader A B Bardhan were among those who attended the meet.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Jaswant Singh were also present in the meeting.

Meanwhile, one protester was reportedly killed, while two others were injured in firing by the army to quell a stone-pelting mob on Jammu-Pathankot national highway in curfew-bound Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier today, Bhartiya Janshakti Party leader Uma Bharti created a flutter outside Prime Minister's residence in New Delhi demanding entry into the all-party meeting on Amarnath issue but was taken into custody by the police.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Jaswant Singh were also present in the meeting.

Earlier during the day, protesters defied curfew in Udhampur in Jammu region even as life in Kashmir valley remained paralysed for the third consecutive day following a strike call given by a separatist group.

On Monday, the Centre had rushed Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh to Jammu to carry out an assessment of the situation. They interacted with the state government and army officials.

Jammu continues to be the epicentre of protests.

A shutdown call given by the Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti, a conglomerate of 35 political, social and religious organisations fighting for the restoration of land to the SASB, entered its 14th day on Tuesday.

The ongoing violence in Jammu is fast assuming communal dimensions and most areas have been placed under curfew.


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