Agitators clash with police in Jammu

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Jammu, Aug 31 : Clashes between security forces and agitators continued in Jammu on Sunday, even after Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti (SASS), the group that was spearheading the land transfer agitation suspended the protests, after reaching a truce with a panel of the State Government.

The landmark decision came after endless rounds of meeting between the activists of SASS and the government panel in the wee hours of Sunday.

The government decided to let the shrine board make temporary use of 40-hectares of land during the annual pilgrimage.

On the other hand people defied curfew at various places of the city and came out on the streets as they wanted to participate in the rally organized by the SASS.

The security forces had to resort to fire water canons and tear gas shells to disperse the violent mob.

Political analysts feel that a non-issue, which has witnessed violent protests for over two months has been solved.

"I congratulate Central leadership and State Government for finishing off this crisis. The issue-less agitation, which was on for the last 62 days, has reached its destination. The issue was imposed on the religious faiths of the people. People of Jammu including children and elderly strongly opposed the discrimination against them. Finally the order came on Saturday," Suhail Kazmi, a political analyst said in Jammu.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) welcomed the decision of the talks.

"As I have said, what has been told to me, I'll see the official draft also. But what has been told to me gives me satisfaction," Advani, senior BJP leader told reporters in New Delhi.

Meanwhile, activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a hardline Hindu group danced on the drum beats in New Delhi and celebrated the outcome.

Terming the decision as victory of Hindus, VHP General Secretary Praveen Togadia thanked the people of Jammu for their effort.

"This is the victory of sacrifice and contribution of people of Jammu. Jammu and Kashmir and Central Government have been forced to bow down to accept the demand of Hindus," he said.

The row over the land allocated for setting up temporary facilities for Hindu pilgrims visiting Amarnath cave shrine in Kashmir valley and later its withdrawal has snowballed into large-scale protests for about two months.

Hundreds of people have been injured in clashes over the protests. The state, whose tourist brochures proclaim the Kashmir valley as "paradise on earth", has suffered more than one billion dollar in lost business.

ANI

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