Protesters angry over attack on pilgrim buses
Jammu: The issue of transfer of forest land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board has sharply divided two distinct regions in Jammu and Kashmir months ahead of crucial Assembly poll.
On one hand, the Kashmir valley has been witnessing widespread protests fuelled by Kashmir-based mainstream political parties and separatists questioning the wisdom of the State Government behind transfer of forest land, and on the other hand, Jammu-based political parties are regularly holding protest demonstrations and burning effigies of Kashmiri politicians warning the State Government against reversing its decision on transfer of forest land. The situation is volatile in both the regions and passions are running among people for and against the decision of the State Government.
On Tuesday, the protesters in Jammu blocked smooth flow of traffic for over half-an-hour on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Nagrota sending clear cut signal to the State Government not to succumb to the pressure mounted by Kashmir-based political parties and separatist groups.
The protesters were angry over the way transport buses carrying Amaranth pilgrims were attacked by the agitators in Kashmir during demonstrations.
The protesters led by the lone BJP MLA from Nagrota Jugal Kishore Sharma also burnt effigies of Peoples Democratic Party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Deputy Chief Minister
Muzaffar Hussain Beig and National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah while raising anti-Government slogans exposing the Kashmiri leadership.
Several other saffron outfits have been raising voices in support of the State Government's decision and rapping Kashmiri leadership for communalising the issue.The State unit of the BJP has also threatened to file an FIR against PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beig.
The political parties, having trusted vote banks belonging to two different regions, are also vertically divided over the issue and are busy building their pre-poll campaign. Playing safe, the Congress leadership has been maintaining stoic silence over the entire issue. Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is mum and other senior leaders are not willing to comment on record. The biggest worry in Congress circles is that if at all a situation arises where the State Government had to withdraw its decision, it would impact its poll prospects in Jammu region, its main constituency. Keeping this in mind, the Congress has entrusted Dogra leader GS Charak to hold fort for the Congress. For record sake, he has been constantly negating statements of PDP Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Beig that the Congress blackmailed PDP before taking the decision to transfer forest land to the shrine board for raising pre-fabricated huts for pilgrims. He has also denied reports that the Congress was under pressure to withdraw or reverse the decision. The State unit of the BJP and other social and religious organisations are mounting pressure on the State Government to stay firm on its decision amid reports that the PDP has set a deadline of June 30 for the coalition Government to take a final decision on the issue.
Source: The Daily Pioneer