M A I N   N E W S

Our demands accepted: Samiti
Pact on exclusive use of Baltal land; stir may be called off
Tribune News Service and Agencies

Jammu, August 30
Following over two months of agitation in Jammu, the Amarnath land row was resolved today with the state government agreeing to set aside 800 kanals of land in Baltal exclusively for Shri Amarnath Shrine Board during the Amarnath Yatra.

The government has agreed to withdraw the cases registered against the protesters during the agitation.

The government has also agreed to set up a panel under the chief secretary for awarding compensation to traders and transporters for the losses they have suffered due to the agitation and over 50 days of shutdown in Jammu.

Though both sides are yet to come out with the agreement, the sources in the Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti have confirmed these developments.

A positive indication was received when samiti convener Leela Karan Sharma and state BJP president Ashok Khajuria reached the guest house to participate in the fifth round of talks between the Governor’s panel and the samiti.

The agreement had not been released till the filing of this report.

It is learnt that the panel and the samiti representatives will meet again amid reports that the agitation may be called off as early as tomorrow.

When asked whether the samiti was satisfied with the solution reached on the land issue, samiti spokesperson Sanjay Nagpal said, “yes, we are satisfied with it”.

“They have agreed to withdraw cases but modalities have to be worked out. Almost all our demands have been accepted,” he said.

Earlier, addressing a press conference at the Jammu Press Club, samiti spokesperson Dr Jitender Singh said they have not received any "peace formula" from the government so the question of rejecting it doesn't arise.

He, however, clarified that the so-called peace formula was more or less the same that was put forth before the samiti during the second and third round of talks with the Governor's panel last Saturday.

"We want an honourable diversion of land or placement of land at the exclusive disposal of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board for use during the Amarnath Yatra," he said. "Use of land is a general expression and this is not what the people here are agitating for," he clarified.

Samiti member Brig Suchet Singh said that there could be no compromise formula for resolution of the crisis.

Apparently referring to the PDP’s demand of involving the Action Committee of Kashmir in the talks, he said the issue has to be resolved between the two parties - the government and the samiti, adding that no other party could be involved in the dialogue.

He said only Hindus have the right to manage Shri Amarnath Shrine Board and nobody else can give an opinion on it. He also made it clear that the samiti would not accept any alteration in the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board Act.

Brig Suchet Singh said the Centre should not give in to the “blackmailing” by Kashmir-centric leaders. Lashing out at the Congress and the PDP, he said the likes of Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mehbooba Mufti have no right to talk on the issue.

He said the government must also address all grievances of Jammu and Ladakh, including delimitation, discrimination, development and employment.

He said their main issue is the restoration of land and they have already given their proposal to the government, the response to which is awaited. “It will be too premature to comment on it till the final word comes from the government,” he added.



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