SAYSS and panel sign accord on Amarnath issue, stir suspended


Jammu : In a major breakthrough in the Amarnath land issue, Jammu and Kashmir Government and the group spearheading the agitation today signed an accord to allow the shrine board to make temporary use of 40 hectares of land in Kashmir during the yatra period after which the 64- day-old stir was suspended.

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The agreement was reached in the wee hours after six hours of talks between the Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti (SAYSS) and the four-member panel of the state government headed by S S Bleoria, Adviser to Governor N N Vohra.

Curfew was clamped in Jammu city and army called out as a precaution measure to prevent people from participating in the Vijay (victory) rally called by the Samiti keeping in view of reports of presence of militants who could use the occasion to trigger violence.

Addressing a press conference with Bleoria shortly after signing the accord, Samiti’s Convener Leela Karan Sharma said that “we have suspended the agitation for the time being and not called it off, as some of our demands are yet to be met.” He said “the exclusive use of the land has been given to the (shrine) board without charging any money. This has been agreed upon”.

Under the deal, the government has agreed to set aside 800 kanals of land at Baltal and Domail in Kashmir without any payment.

Bleoria said “the proprietary status, ownership and title of the land shall not undergo any change. The board shall use the land for the duration of the yatra (pilgrimage) including the period of making the required arrangements and winding up of the same”.

The shrine board will continue discharging its responsibilities as per the statute on Amarnath pilgrimage and it shall supervise all arrangements of the yatra with the support of the state Government, according to the agreement.