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PDP takes back support to Cong govt

Nawaz Gul Qanungo  |  New Delhi 

In a sudden twist to the controversy over the transfer of 40 hectares of forest land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), partner in the Congress-led coalition government in J&K, withdrew support to the state government today. The PDP had earlier set June 30 deadline for the Congress to revoke the land allotment.

To make things worse for the Congress, the crisis reached New Delhi today when activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which is supporting the land transfer, clashed with police outside Jammu & Kashmir House in the capital. J&K Minister of Finance, Tariq Hamid Karra, was present in J&K House. Police had to resort to lathicharge to disperse the protesters.

The Congress finds itself on a sticky ground. It either loses power in J&K if the PDP goes ahead with the pullout or faces the wrath of the VHP elsewhere in the country in the event of the forest land being taken away from the SASB

"Pressure is building up on the government and there is hardly any time left for it to act now," Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami, J&K state secretary, CPI(M), told Business Standard, adding that the land transfer must be revoked immediately "in the intersest of the people of the state and the nation".

Earlier, along with Hakim Yaseen, chairman, PDP, Tarigami met the new J&K governor, NN Vohra. Both apprised the governor of their stand on the issue.

Meanwhile, life was crippled today for the sixth day running in Srinagar with protests at several places of the city leaving scores injured. Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yasin Malik was among the wounded, according to a JKLF spokesperson.

"People are on the streets and the situation has the potential of turning into a communal clash," said Tarigami, adding the Amarnath Yatra was part of Kashmir's unique culture and must be resumed as soon as possible.

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First Published: Sun, June 29 2008. 00:00 IST