Kashmiris protest India land grab PHOTO

The protest was called by Kashmiri Muslims who also say the fragile ecology of the mountainous region will be ruined by building permanent structures at base camps of the pilgrimage.

Kashmiris protest India land grab PHOTO

Indian police in Kashmir's main city fired tear gas and used batons on Monday to disperse hundreds of Muslim demonstrators protesting against a government decision to transfer forest land to a Hindu shrine trust.



Authorities last week said nearly 100 acres of forest land in Kashmir was being transferred to Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) to erect temporary structures for thousands of pilgrims who annually trek to a cave shrine deep in the Himalayas.

"Don't grab our land, we want freedom," protesters shouted.

Police detained at least 50 protesters from different parts of Srinagar, Kashmir's summer capital, witnesses said.



The protest was called by Kashmiri Muslims who also say the fragile ecology of the mountainous region will be ruined by building permanent structures at base camps of the pilgrimage.

The government denies the charge.

"Special measures were initiated keeping in view the environmental requirements," S. K. Sinha state's governor and chief of SASB said in a statement.

During the two-month-long pilgrimage, tens of thousands of devout Hindus walk and ride ponies to the cave, situated at an altitude of 3,800 meters (12,700 feet), to pray by an ice stalagmite they believe to be a symbol of Hindu god Lord Shiva.

Reuters

Last Mod: 23 Haziran 2008, 18:10
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