Hindus once again came to the streets on July 3 to register their protest against cancellation of land allotment to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board at Baltal in Kashmir by the Jammu & Kashmir government. Responding to the Bharat Bandh call given by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), people observed complete bandh across the country. Barring some violent incidents in Indore and Satna in Madhya Pradesh where some anti-social elements tried to sabotage the peaceful bandh, the bandh passed peacefully across the country.
According to VHP general secretary Dr Pravin Togadia, from Jammu to Jharkhand, from Pune to Patna and from Gujarat to Goa, Hindus observed spontaneous bandh. This shows that Bharat will not tolerate any injustice to Hindus and will protest any such move democratically. The VHP had appealed to its activists to demonstrate peacefully and democratically. It had also advised all to exempt medical, school and essential commodities vehicles and services from the bandh and ensure no inconvenience to the old, disabled, sick, children etc.
Commenting on the incidents of Indore and Satna Dr Togadia said during the Rameshwaram Ram Sethu agitation and today's?Save Amarnath Land from Jehadis? agitation, the VHP has noticed that some anti-social elements in some states like MP, Gujarat, Punjab etc misguided media by using VHP, Bajrang Dal names for doing their own violence and for settling their personal enmity. VHP denies any reasonability of any criminal activities during the spontaneous Bharat Bandh that may have been done by the people not from VHP. Any such misreporting pertaining to the bandh amounts to criminal defamation, he added.
Dr Togadia made it clear that their agitation does not stop with the success of Bharat Bandh and it would continue till the land is returned to the Board. He announced to launch a Protest Week beginning from July 5 and made it clear that if the government fails to return the land to the Board the whole country would be made Ayodhya. ?Now this agitation has reached every village of the country and every Hindu is now involved in it. The VHP unit in Jammu has decided to continue bandh for another 72 hours. The Jammu-Srinagar national highway is completely blocked and would not be opened till the government accepts the demand of Hindus. During our week-long agitation the stains and VHP activists would organise dharna, demonstration, etc. across the country. Memorandums would be presented to President, Prime Minister and Governors through the authorities concerned. The saints and VHP leaders would meet on July 8 and if the land was not returned to Baba Amarnath the agitation would be intensified,? he told Organiser in New Delhi.
The impact of the bandh in Delhi was seen everywhere. Even the tea and beetle shops remained closed voluntarily by the people to show their acrimony against the government. The VHP, Bajrang Dal, BJP and other organisation workers came to the streets at 9 am. They made the bandh successful in a peaceful manner. Police in Sultanpuri arrested 566 workers. In most parts the people shut down their establishments voluntarily. The local residents were also raised slogans against the government along with the demonstrating workers.
Meanwhile, former BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu said if BJP comes to power at the Centre it would make all arrangements for Amarnath pilgrimage in Kashmir. Addressing the protesters in Delhi, he said it is a national shame that the UPA government has not been able to provide 100 acres of land for making arrangements for the pilgrims of Lord Amarnath, the symbol of the belief of crores of Hindus of the country. ?Today the Hindus are feeling offended and insulted in their own country. This is the reason why there has been worldwide reaction to the decision of the Congress to cancel the allotment of land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board. BJP is not going to sit silently. It will not tolerate any injustice against the Hindus,? he added.
Delhi BJP chief Dr Harsh Vardhan said the question is not only of 100 acres of land. The issue is connected with the belief, honour and prestige of the Hindus. The Congress government is insulting the Hindus again and again deliberately. By the arrest of Shankaracharya, demolition of Ram Sethu, questioning the existence of Lord Rama and now the cancellation of land allotted to Amarnath Shrine Board the Congress has proved that it would play the game of appeasement although the majority community may feel insulted. He warned the Congress would have to face the consequences of dividing the society.
Reports received from Jammu point out that curfew continued for the second day on July 3. However, angry residents came out on the roads at some places in Jammu city, defying curfew restrictions and staged protests against the land order cancellations. Banks, educational institutions and government offices remained closed for the third day in view of the strike and curfew. The Jammu-Srinagar highway, which is the supply lifeline to the valley, was also blocked by protestors at several places. Police had placed BJP state president Ashok Khajuria under house arrest in Jammu to prevent his participation in the protests.
Thousands of VHP workers blocked important arterial roads at Vakola, Malad and Borivili in northwest Mumbai and in the northeastern suburb of Ghatkopar. The shops and business establishments in several parts of Karnataka were also remained closed. There are reports of bandh from Kerala, Karantaka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Harayana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa.