M A I N   N E W S

Stalemate in Jammu
Samiti not to give up stir
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Jammu, August 9
The all-party delegation headed by union home minister Shivraj Patil today held talks with the Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti to find a way out of the Amarnath land row that has pushed the state into turmoil for the last over 40 days.

However, the stalemate continues. The samiti, while maintaining it is open to dialogue in future, remained adamant that the agitation would continue till the land was restored to the Amarnath Shrine Board.

The samiti agreed to hold talks with the all-party delegation in the evening only after PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and NC patron Farooq Abdullah opted out of the delegation. The samiti had last night made it clear that it would not talk to a delegation with Mehbooba and Farooq as its members as it holds the two responsible for the present situation.

Talking to mediapersons after the meeting, samiti convener Leela Karan Sharma said the union home minister appealed for peace in Jammu. "The delegation didn't give any proposal to resolve the issue. We stuck to our three demands — recall of Governor, restoration of land to the shrine board and handing back Amarnath yatra arrangements to the board. Patil has said the government will think over our demands," he said.

On the possibility of a dialogue in future, the Samiti leaders said, “We have acquainted them with the ground situation and now the ball is in their court. However, we are open for talks in future.” They also said that the issue could not be resolved in a single meeting. The Samiti also raised the matter of imposition of curfew and heavy deployment of army and police in Jammu. Sharma said the government could not curb their agitation. “They should remember that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Later, addressing a press conference, Shivraj Patil stressed on the need to restore peace in the state and said the issue has to be resolved to the satisfaction of the people of Jammu as well as Kashmir. “We have to find a way out that is acceptable to the people of both the regions while ensuring that no other issue crops up out of it,” he added.

Patil also stressed on maintaining communal harmony in the state. In reply to a question, he said, “I hope the Samiti will not stick to its current stand and will help us find a solution.”

Meanwhile, Shivraj Patil had a taste of the ongoing protests in the city when two persons jumped in front of his car as he was leaving for Kashmir after holding talks with the agitating group. Raising slogans against Patil, the protesters came in front of his vehicle and said they would continue their agitation till the land was handed over to the Amarnath Shrine Board. The duo raised slogans — “Shivraj Patil Go back… Zameen le ke rahenge (we are determined to take the land)” — before being whisked away by the police.




BSF post comes under Pak firing
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, August 9
A BSF post in Tangdhar sector in Kupwara district came under firing from across the Line of Control yesterday afternoon. Official sources said the firing, from mortar and small arms, went on for 15 minutes but caused no damage. A spokesperson of the Army, which holds the operational command on matters related to the LoC, expressed his ignorance over the incident.

However, a senior official, who did not wish to be quoted, said, “The firing from mortar indicates the involvement of the Pakistani army.” He expressed surprise as to why the Army did not bring the matter on record.



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