Call off Amarnath agitation, Congress to Sangh Parivar

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New Delhi, Aug 21 (UNI) Alleging that the 'unfortunate' situation in Jammu and Kashmir was created by the 'forces for whom their own personal interests appear to be above those of the nation,' the Congress today asked the BJP and the Sangh Parivar to call off the agitation over the Amarnath land issue.

AICC Spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told mediapersons that the Centre had been making serious efforts to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir and first step in this direction was the relaxation of the curfew. "We hope this will help in maintaining peace in the valley in the days to come." She said the 'tragic' aspect of the ongoing agitation (by the Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti) was that it was totally based on falsehood and lies.

In this context, she said a record number of 527,697 yatris visited Amarnath shrine during the June-August season this year.

"This is a record for 20 years." She said the Jammu and Kashmir government, the Amarnath Shrine Board and the people of the state helped to make the yatra peaceful.

"The agitation is based on non-issue. that is the reason why it had no bearing on yatris." Saying that the Amarnath shrine was a symbol of composite culture of India, Ms Natarajan said, "We should not let the situation get out of control which will affect the secular fabric of India. All the political parties, including the BJP and the others in the Sangh Parivar, should remember this." Reacting to the demand of the BJP to implement the High Court order directing to transfer the land to the Shrine Board, she said the issue should be sorted out through dialogue.

Secondly, even before the court order, the state had taken steps to provide facilities to the pilgrims throughout the ways leading to the shrine.

Asked if the Congress was in favour of replacing Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vora, Ms Natarajan said it was for the government to decide such matters. "Our party is not involved in transfer and posting of governors." UNI SH PK AS1822

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