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Vohra's panel to meet SASS leaders today

india Updated: Aug 07, 2008 13:21 IST

PTI
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The four-member team appointed by Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra is on Thursday meeting a panel of Shri Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti (SASS) in an effort to end the five-week old agitation over Amarnath land controversy.

The initiative came a day after an all-party meeting convened in the national capital by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made an appeal for suspending the agitation so that the dialogue process could begin.

Though the SASS has decided to continue protests demanding transfer of nearly 100 acres of forest land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), it agreed to hold talks with Vohra's peace panel. The Samiti is spearheading the current agitation in Jammu and surrounding areas.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary SS Bloeria, Vice-chancellor of the Jammu University Amitabh Mattoo, retired judge of Jammu and Kashmir High Court Justice G D Sharma and SASB's Chief Executive Officer BB Vyas have been authorised by Vohra to negotiate with SASS leaders.

SASS convenor Leela Karan Sharma told PTI that the Samiti will ascertain what the four-member panel has to offer.
"We need to know what is the problem in handing over land to the SASB. The agitation will continue in one form or the other till aspirations of the people in Jammu region are met," he said.

Meanwhile, unrest continued in Jammu as well as in Srinagar. Three police officers were injured when a detonator recovered by security forces this morning went off inside Sadar police station in Srinagar. Official sources said the injured were rushed to police hospital.

Security forces also recovered a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) on the Srinagar airport road. CRPF spokesman P Tripathy said the IED was mobile-triggered and weighed 80 kg.

Security forces were on high alert as most shops, schools and offices in Srinagar remained closed. Most vehicles stayed off the roads.

Yasin Malik, leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), was moved to a hospital with falling health condition after a two-day hunger strike to protest against the economic blockade of Muslim-dominated areas by the SASS.

The Samiti has been demanding allocation of forest land to the SASB for setting up temporary pre-fabricated structures for Amarnath pilgrims. The land was transferred on May 26 but the issue triggered massive protests in Kashmir.

The government rescinded the order on July 1 which quelled street protests in the valley but triggered counter-agitation in the Jammu region.

The SASS is a group of about 28 social and political outfits like the Shiv Sena, the BJP, the Transport Union and the Jammu Bar Association.