Kashmir land decision to be revoked

Muslim independence leaders say the land transfer was aimed at changing the demography of Kashmir, mainly Hindu India's only Muslim-majority region.

Kashmir land decision to be revoked
The government of Kashmir said on Sunday it would revoke its decision to give forest land to a Hindu shrine trust, a move that could ease mass protests by Muslims across the Himalayan region.

The week-long protests started when authorities said they transferred nearly 100 acres (40 ha) to Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), a Hindu trust.

The protests, some of the biggest since revolt against Indian occupation broke out in 1989, have widened to become pro-independence rallies. Three people have been shot dead by Indian police and hundreds have been hurt in clashes.

India and Pakistan, who have fought wars over Kashmir, claim the region in full but rule in parts.

Asked at a news conference if the government would revoke the land move, Ghulam Nabi Azad, the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir state, replied "Yes".

The government decision comes day after a key partner in Kashmir's ruling coalition, the People's Democratic Party (PDP), withdrew their support over the land transfer.

Muslim independence leaders say the land transfer was aimed at changing the demography of Kashmir, mainly Hindu India's only Muslim-majority region.

Environmentalists say any construction on forest land could ruin the region's fragile ecology.

Indian authorities have denied the charge.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, head of Kashmir's main independence alliance, All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference, said the peaceful protests would continue until authorities produced a "written revocation order."


Reuters
Last Mod: 29 Haziran 2008, 17:31
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