Government Land For Amarnath Shrine Board Leads To Violence In J-K

20 June 2008
Asian News International

Srinagar: Violence broke out in Jammu and Kashmir as the moderate and hardline factions of the separatist All Party Hurriyat (freedom) Conference organised separate protests in the city against transfer of land to the Amarnath shrine board. The Jammu and Kashmir Government recently transferred nearly 40 hectares of forestland in Baltal area to the Shri Amarnath-ji Shrine Board (SASB) for 23.1 million rupees. Police fired teargas shells as the protest turned violent. Hardline Syed Ali Shah Geelani said the two factions had formed a six-member committee to look into the issue and would abide by whatever decision it took. 'The six member committee has been formed on the transfer of land to a shrine trust. Miyaz Qayoom who is the president of the committee will take a decision on the matter. The moment it decides something, both the factions (of separatist Hurriyat Conference) will give full support,' Geelani said. The shrine board's CEO Arun Kumar, who is also the Principal Secretary to the state Governor Lt. General (Retired) S.K. Sinha, confirmed this week that the land transfer was 'permanent' and legitimate as the shrine board is a state body. While the move implies an implicit approval of the Congress party, the People's Democratic Party (PDP) has opposed the move.