As violence over cancellation of the land transfer to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) simply refused to die down, the Centre on Monday rushed two top bureaucrats to the state to assess the situation.
<b1>The Centre rushed Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh after the state government sought Centre’s intervention in smooth passage of goods-laden trucks through Punjab where protestors were trying to stop them. During their visit, Gupta and Singh, who are accompanied by CRPF chief VK Joshi, interacted with officials of the Jammu and Kashmir government.
Officials said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would soon chair an all-party meeting on the situation in Jammu. Top leaders of all political parties will be invited to the meeting, which is most likely to be held on August 6, they said.
The decision to send two top officials came after the Prime Minister called Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil to his residence late on Sunday night upon his return from Colombo. Meanwhile, at least three people were killed and several others were injured in police action on Monday as the state grappled with violent protests not witnessed in decades. Two protestors died in a police firing in Samba.
People in Kashmir observed a shutdown and held demonstrations, some of them violent, to protest against the assault on Kashmiri drivers and several incidents of violence directed against Gujjars and Muslims in Jammu. In Srinagar, a youth, hit by a teargas shell died, protesting against the alleged assault on Muslims in Jammu. "This is the worst communal flare-up I’ve seen since 1947,” said Major General Goverdhan Singh Jamwal (Retd).
(With inputs from Rashid Ahmad)