Talks on Amarnath land row postponed


Jammu : The fourth round of talks that was scheduled to be held Friday between the four-member government panel and the Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti (SASS), agitating for return of land to the Amarnath trust, was postponed to Saturday, officials said.

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The talks were to be held Thursday but were deferred to Friday since S.S. Bloeria, the advisor to Governor N.N.Vohra, had suffered injuries after an accidental fall. However, doctors Friday suggested one more day of bed-rest for the official.

Official sources said Bloeria would be flying from Srinagar to Jammu Saturday morning to continue with the talks that were left inconclusive on Aug 23 after a “broad understanding between the two sides”.

On agenda for the fourth round of talks was chiefly the government’s offer to give a piece of the disputed 40 hectares of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board at Baltal, in north Kashmir, during the pilgrimage period of three months. The discussions were to be held in public.

The state government had May 26 transferred a 40-hectare plot of land to the SASB but withdrew the order following protests in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley. The revocation July 1 ignited an agitation in the Hindu-majority Jammu region.

The SASS insists that the land be restored to the shrine board. “Nothing short of it,” Suchet Singh had told reporters before the talks started.

The government panel includes Bloeria, retired high court judge G.D. Sharma, Jammu University vice-chancellor Amitabh Mattoo and SASB CEO B.B. Vyas, who is also the governor’s principal secretary.

The SASS representatives are Tilak Raj Sharma, Narinder Singh and Pawan Kohli.