Govt moves, peace panel off to Jammu | india | Hindustan Times
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Govt moves, peace panel off to Jammu

An all-party delegation headed by the Home Minister will visit Jammu on Saturday to hold talks with leaders of the Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti, report Arun Joshi and Saroj Nagi.

india Updated: Aug 08, 2008 11:50 IST

An all-party delegation headed by home minister Shivraj Patil will visit Jammu on Saturday to hold talks with leaders of the Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti.

The samiti’s protests against the cancelling of the order that had transferred 100 acres of land to the board supervising the Amarnath yatra, have left Jammu in
turmoil for the last 40 days.

The centre’s decision on Friday to constitute the committee is in line with the
Hindustan Times suggestion on Thursday that the government should start talking to protesters. Fifteen members from 11 political parties — whose names are still being finalized — are expected to join the delegation.

An urgent meeting of the Congress’s Kashmir Committee, chaired by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday evening, decided that former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kashmir Congress president Saifuddin Soz would arrive in Jammu on Friday itself to prepare the ground for the delegation’s arrival.

The protesters, while indicating their readiness to meet the delegation, have however turned down the appeal of the all party meeting on Wednesday to call off their stir.

“If the dialogue takes up concrete proposals, there can be some movement forward,” said Tilak Raj Sharma, spokesperson for the protesters. “The question of giving up our stir before anything has been discussed does not arise.”

Governor N. N. Vohra also arrived in Jammu on Thursday to take stock of the situation. He strongly refuted the view that the Jammu protesters had launched an “economic blockade” against the people of the Valley by preventing essential supplies from reaching them. “It is just a traffic disruption, not an economic blockade,” Vohra insisted.

The four-member panel formed by Vohra on Wednesday has already sent an invitation to the protesters for a dialogue, whose first round is likely to be held on Friday.

Meanwhile three advisors to the governor were appointed on Thursday, fuelling speculation that, in view of the situation, the government was considering extending governor’s rule and postponing elections. All three — HH Tyabji, SS Billoria and C Puhunsog — are former chief secretaries of the state.