Hectic talks continue on Amarnath land transfer row


New Delhi : Hectic efforts continued Thursday by the government to find a solution to the land transfer row in Jammu and Kashmir that has assumed serious dimensions. Senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee chaired two meetings on the issue Thursday.

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The meetings came ahead of an all-party delegation’s visit to Jammu and Srinagar Saturday to find a peaceful resolution to the land tangle that has claimed over 14 lives in violence over the past six weeks.

Thursday afternoon, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee chaired a meeting at South Block, which was attended by Home Minister Shivraj Patil, union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta and Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar.

In the evening, the Congress COmmittee on Jammu and Kashmir met at Mukherjee’s residence. The meeting was attended by former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Shivraj Patil and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s political aide Ahmed Patel.

The Congress committee met to try and finalise a strategy on tackling the imbroglio over land transfer to the Amarnath shrine board that has led to violent protests in Jammu and Kashmir over the past few weeks.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired an all-party meeting on the issue.

On Saturday, an all-party delegation led by the home minister will be visiting Jammu and Srinagar to try and find a way out to the issue, a home ministry statement said Thursday night.