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Yoga guru Ram Dev demands land back for Amarnath shrine

Yoga guru Ram Dev demands land back for Amarnath shrine

Author: ANI
Publication: Yahoo News
Date: August 15, 2008
URL: http://in.news.yahoo.com/139/20080815/808/tnl-yoga-guru-ram-dev-demands-land-back.html

Yoga guru Ram Dev on Thursday jumped into the thick of a raging shrine row in Jammu and Kashmir, by demanding that forest land taken away from the Amarnath Shrine Board be restored to it.

manding the repeal of a state government order, Ram Dev also called for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in the region.

"The federal government should not only give the land back to the Amarnath Shrine Board, but it should also allot land for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, who are forced to live a life of refugees in their own country, which is very pathetic. I have visited Kashmir (and I know) there is a lot of land there which can be allotted for this purpose," Ram Dev told a news conference here.

In Jammu, a Hindu-dominated region in Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir state, thousands of people have been protesting against the revocation of the order to transfer about 100 acres (40 hectares) of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).

The dispute began after the Jammu and Kashmir government ordered the transfer of forestland to the Trust that runs Amarnath, a cave shrine visited by Hindu pilgrims. But Muslims in Kashmir were enraged.

The government then backed down on its decision. Many Hindus, in turn, were angered.

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