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Sinha breaks silence:PDP anti-national

Sinha breaks silence:PDP anti-national

Author: Express News Service
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: August 11, 2008
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/story/347223.html

Terming the controversy over the revocation of land transfer order to the Sri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) as a national tragedy, former Jammu and Kashmir governor Lt General S K Sinha (retd) has said the transfer of land was not an unusual decision as huge tracts of forest land have been transferred for various purposes, including starting hydel project, setting up communication towers and starting educational institutes.

He was delivering a keynote address at a seminar 'Shri Amarnath Land Transfer - Implications of Revocation', organised by the Forum on Integrated National Security, Chandigarh, on Sunday.

Calling the People's Democratic Party anti-national, former J-K governor said, "The Valley is inhabitated by 45 per cent Kashmiri Muslims, around 35 per cent Hindus and Sikhs and some Christians, 20 per cent Gujjars and Bakerwals and 2 to 3 per cent Buddhists." The PDP had been trying to create a rift, he added.

Listing out measures needed to control the situation, Lt Gen Sinha said, "There should be no appeasement of any faction while dealing with the situation. The people of Jammu should be requested to refrain from violence to prevent communal enmity. Checks need to be imposed on forces trying to stop essential supplies from entering Kashmir. The facts about land transfer must be made clear to the people."

Having received flak from various quarters and blamed for being party to the decision, Lt Gen Sinha said he felt it was his duty to go around the country and apprise people of what the facts were. "It was in 2005 that the request for transfer of land to the Shrine Board was made. With the approval of the Cabinet and pressures from ministers the land was transferred. The SASB had been putting up pre-fabricated structures for the convenience of pilgrims. The area in Baltal can be accessed only for three to four months a year. The rest of the year there it is heavy snowfall. Due to the structures tourism in the area increased," he says.

Noted commentator Saeed Naqvi presented a documentary film made by him on various religious places in the country. It depicted how cutting across religious barriers, temples and mosques were being maintained by people from other religions.

President of the forum P C Dogra, former DGP Punjab, said the long hidden frustration of the people was coming to surface in the Valley. It is a stage-managed show by separatists and some segments of mainstream politics.

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