Centre exerts support to resolve Amaranth issue

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{image-shivraj patil_09082008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Jammu, Aug 9: The Central Government has exserted full support to resolve the Amarnath land row, which has resulted in regional polarisation of Jammu and Kashmir. The 18-member delegation, headed by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, on Saturday, Aug 8 arrived here as a step forward towards resolving the issue through 'persuasion and goodwill'.

''Whatever is required to normalise the situation, will be provided by the Centre'' an official spokesman with the delegation told sources at Hari Niwas Palace. Emphasising on the need for cooperation from everybody to deal the situation in state, he said the efforts would be made to reduce the difficulties of the people in Jammu and Kashmir.

On its arrival, senior government official, including Lt Gen Vinay Sharma, GOC IX Corps, briefed the visiting delegation about the situation in curfew-bound Jammu region, which is witnessing massive protests, with people defying curfew despite heavy deployment of forces and barbed wiring on the streets.

The delegation was apprised about the sensitivity of the situation and the 'religious sentiments' attached to it.

The officers informed that over 1,100 people were taken into preventive custody during the past 40 days of agitation. It was also assured that the forces were keeping maximum restraint to tackle the situation.

Meanwhile, the winter capital city was put under complete siege as a preventive measure, to check any untoward incident during the visit of the high-profile delegation.

Civil administration also withdrew its order for three hours curfew relaxation in the midnight and all the routes leading to the Raj Bhawan and Hari Niwas Palace were sealed by the security forces.

Despite heavy deployment and curfew, hundreds of people attempted to approach the Raj Bhawan. ''Hundreds of protesters were stopped before Rehari Chowk and outer areas,'' a senior police official said.

The delegation had invited the Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti (SAYSS), a conglomerate of several political and non-political parties, for talks, for holding talks to resolve the issue.

However, getting stronger on its stand for restoration of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board in south Kashmir, the Samiti yesterday extended Jammu bandh till August 14 and threatened to boycott the delegation if senior National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, senior People's Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti and Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress President Saifuddin Soz join it.

''We welcome Centre's delegation but we will not hold dialogue with the delegation comprising Dr Abdullah, Ms Mufti and Prof Soz,'' a Samiti spokesman said.

According to the Samiti, these leaders are the root cause of present situation in the state.

It was decided at an all-party meeting convened on August 6, to send a delegation to assess the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

UNI

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