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J&K: Valley's fruit growers threaten hunger strike

August 21, 2008 13:35 IST

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Accusing the government of failing to provide security to their trucks plying on the Srinagar-Jammu National highway, fruit growers from the Valley on Thursday threatened to launch an indefinite hunger strike if the situation does not improve in the next few days.

"We have decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road if the situation arising out of continuous attacks on truckers on the highway does not improve in next few days," Fruit Growers Coordination Committee president Ghulam [Images] Rasool Bhat told reporters.

Contradicting government's claim that the traffic on the arterial road connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country was plying smoothly despite protests in Jammu over the Amarnath land row, Bhat claimed that a fruit laden truck was burnt three days back by protesters who damaged six other trucks at Samba on Sunday evening.

"The truck, which was set afire, belonged to Jammu and was carrying fruits from Valley," he said, adding, "claims of administration that the highway has been secured are proving to be a hoax."

Sopore Fruit Association president Bashir Ahmed Beigh said the fruit growers are suffering heavy losses.

"We have faced losses worth Rs 500 crore till date. Had Islam not forbidden suicide, we would have ended our lives," he added.

Expressing concern over the attacks on truckers, Baramulla Transport company's Nazir Ahmad Bhat claimed that window panes of half a dozen fruit laden trucks were damaged by Hindu activists two days back.

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