Kashmir: Mass protests force government to reverse controversial land-transfer decision
Muslims in Indian-administered Kashmir charged that the transfer was an attempt to tip the Hindu-Muslim ratio of the area in favor of Hindus. The protests have widened to support for independence.
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The Kashmir Observer reported on Sunday that the situation remained tense, and that life was becoming increasingly difficult for some in the area.Skip to next paragraph
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However in more volatile areas where pro-freedom sentiments have traditionally been high, police failed to keep youth off the roads. The protesters, mostly young and teenagers, burned tires, created road blocks and held noisy protests chanting 'favourite' slogan – Ham Kya Chahtay: Azadi or "we want freedom".
Similar reports have come in from other major towns where for last seven days people are observing a spontaneous strike.
This despite the fact that people are facing acute shortage of essential commodities, including vegetables, milk and bread because truck services bringing in such commodities from rural areas and from outside the state too have been grounded for past one week.
The political fallout of the controversy is likely to last longer than the protests themselves.
On Saturday night, the People's Democratic Party (PDP), a key partner in Jammu-Kashmir's ruling coalition, which is led by the Congress party, withdrew its support of the government, saying it had not acted fast enough to quell the protests.
The Calcutta Telegraph later reported that Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad did not want his former allies in the PDP to rejoin the government, even though his government had been significantly weakened by their withdrawal.
Azad, who has accused the PDP of pushing the land deal and then doing an about-turn, today got the governor to accept the resignation of its ministers.
Other parties castigated the government for succumbing to pressure over the land transfer, according to the Indian television news channel NDTV.
"The whole issue has been given a communal colour by the Congress and the PDP, and they are being supported by the National Conference in that. People in Jammu feel hurt," state BJP In-charge, R P Singh said.
The government has said that, in the future, it will provide accommodations for pilgrims traveling to the sacred cave.