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Page last updated at 14:52 GMT, Sunday, 29 June 2008 15:52 UK

Hindus will not get Kashmir land

Stone-throwing protesters in Kashmir on 28 June 2008
Thousands of stone-throwing protesters took part in the rallies

The government of Indian-administered Kashmir has said it will revoke its decision to transfer land to a body that manages an important Hindu shrine.

News that the Amarnath Shrine Board was to get the forest land sparked days of protests by the area's Muslim majority.

Three people were killed and hundreds injured, including police officers.

The protests were the among the biggest in the disputed Himalayan region for years, and widened to focus on pro-independence demands.

'Conspiracy'

State Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the cabinet would formally revoke the plans.

He was speaking after the shrine board's management offered to return the land.

The state government now says it will provide all the necessary facilities for pilgrims who want to visit the shrine.

The government had said the land was needed for the construction of pre-fabricated huts and toilets for the pilgrims.

Separatist groups said the transfer of land was part of a "conspiracy to settle non-local Hindus in the valley with a view to reducing the Muslims to a minority".

Local environmentalists also protested against the decision.

The unrest has brought back memories of widespread protests that swept the region after a separatist insurgency began in 1989.


SEE ALSO
Huge protests continue in Kashmir
27 Jun 08 |  South Asia
Kashmir violence over shrine land
24 Jun 08 |  South Asia
Police stop Hindu pilgrim march
01 Jul 04 |  South Asia
Indian pilgrimage dates extended
29 Jun 04 |  South Asia
The pilgrimage to Amarnath
06 Aug 02 |  South Asia

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