Jammu shuts down over Amarnath land issue

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Jammu, Jul 16: Pro-Hindu organisation activists today observed a shutdown in Jammu over the issue of forest land not being transformed to the Amarnath Shrine Board. It may be recalled that initially the Congress-led State Government of former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had ordered the transfer of the land to the shrine board, but when Muslims in the Kashmir Valley raised strong objections to the move, the order was withdrawn.

Thereafter, the State Government said that it would be taking responsibility for activities associated with the Amarnath Shrine including staying arrangements for pilgrims, much to the chagrin of Hindus in the state. Wednesday's shutdown saw shops and business establishments closed and public transport being affected.

Protesters also clashed with policemen and marched through deserted streets. They said they would keep up their agitation till their demand of restoring the land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) was met.

The nearly 100 acres of forestland was to be used for the building of temporary shelters for pilgrims who trek annually to the shrine.


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