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Jammu burns, 2 dead

india Updated: Aug 01, 2008 23:50 IST
Arun Joshi
Arun Joshi
Hindustan Times
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Two persons were killed and several others injured in clashes between the police and violent protestors in the Samba district of the Jammu region on Friday.

People defied the curfew imposed on the entire region and came out on streets to protest against the revocation of the land diversion order to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board last month.

Several parts of Jammu region are in grip of intense street protests and violence despite curfew and the fears of a communal attacks increased sharply on Friday after thousands of people took to streets, fighting ding-dong battles, braving baton charges, police firing and teargas shells in attempts to storm Raj Bhavan and airport.

Former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and People's Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti had a taste of Jammu's ire over their parties' role in the revocation of the order on the transfer of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board on Friday.

They were held hostage at Jammu airport and could move out only after the authorities imposed curfew and posted several contingents of the police and paramilitary forces on the route from the airport to Raj Bhavan.

The police had to open fire and lob countless teargas shells and resort to a baton-charge to disperse the swelling crowds outside Raj Bhavan and the airport. Officials described the situation as the most serious in decades.

Farooq and Mehbooba - the two main political rivals in Kashmir politics had traveled to Jammu on the invitation of Governor NN Vohra to attend an all-party meeting to discuss the situation arising from the month-long agitation in Jammu. The agitation had had turned violent at times and efforts to suppress it through police firing, long spells of curfew and mass arrests had failed to yield results.

Governor Vohra had called the all-party meeting as leaders of the Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti were unwilling to settle for anything short of the land being returned to the shrine board.