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Land row: BJP calls for Jammu bandh on Monday


Pawan Bali,CNN-IBN
Jun 30, 2008 at 10:50am IST

Jammu: A day after state Governor N N Vohra revoked the order to transfer over 100 acres of forestland to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), various political parties based in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region have strongly reacted against the decision.

The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has called for a complete bandh in the region on Monday.

"The whole issue has been given a communal colour by the Congress and the PDP, and they are being supported by the National Conference in that. People in Jammu feel hurt," state BJP In-charge, R P Singh said.

The Lok Jan Shakti and BSP — looking to expand base in Jammu — too, are opposing the government's U-turn on the issue.

Jammu and Kashmir Panther's Party, which was a part of the coalition till 2006, has also refused to support the Congress-led coalition state government.

"We will not support Ghulam Nabi Azad's government. In any case, the situation is ripe for Governor's rule in the state,” Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party MLA and former minister, Harsh Dev Singh said.

Kahmiri Pandits and various Right-wing groups like the Bajrang Dal and the VHP too have taken to the streets to protest the revocation.

The Congress mainly has its base in the Jammu region and with its U-turn on the land transfer order, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is again on tricky ground, for his party will have to find a way to retain its vote bank.

Meanwhile, as the political parties weigh their gains, it is the pilgrims who are completely at a loss. Following the tension in the area, the cancellation of the Amarnath yatra on Friday and Sunday has left thousands of pilgrims stranded.

“The yatra should not be politicised. If parties have to play a political game they should do it during the rest of the 10 months when the yatra does not take place,” Naresh Duseja, who has been staying at the Yatri Bhavan in Jammu with his family for the last four days, said.

Authorities had decided to transfer nearly 100 acres of forestland in Batal to SASB in order to erect temporary structures for thousands of pilgrims who annually trek to the cave shrine.

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