Talks With Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti Put Off Again; Life Remains Paralysed

29 August 2008

New Delhi: Talks between a Jammu and Kashmir Governor’s panel and Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti was put off for the second consecutive day on Friday as the normal life remained paralysed in the Jammu region in response to the continuing bandh over the issue. “The meeting has again been deferred today in view of the illness of Chairman of the Governor’’s panel and Adviser S S Bloeria,” Sri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (SAYSS) spokesperson Narinder Singh said. He said the government’’s decision on the postponement of the talks was conveyed to the SAYSS and that no fresh date was fixed for the parleys. However, sources in the government said that the meeting is expected to be held on Saturday. Thursday’’s scheduled round of talks between the panel appointed by the Governor N N Vohra to resolve the issue in the wake of a two-month long agitation by the SAYSS was deferred due to Bloeria’’s ill health. Shops and market places were closed and vehicles were off the roads in response to the bandh called by SAYSS which entered the 62nd day today. Work in educational institutions and banks remained badly hit and attendance in government offices was thin. Traffic plied on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway where authorities have imposed prohibitory orders and the army has been given the charge of ensuring smooth movement of trucks from Lakhanpur to Jawahar Tunnel. On the issue of the talks with the official panel, the SAYSS said it has submitted written demands to it and was expecting a “favourable” response. The group earlier held three rounds of talks with the governor’’s panel on 23rd August. However, the talks remained inconclusive and it was agreed by both sides that they would resume the discussions at a later stage. A five-point agenda had been set for the talks which included reconstitution of the Amarnath shrine board, clarifying in appropriate details its role and duties. It also includes assessment of the total requirement of land by the Shrine Board and working out an arrangement for use of 100 acres of land at Baltal-Domail by the SASB during the period of yatra. Meanwhile, curfew continued in Poonch town for seventh consecutive day today.