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VHP, JSM oppose separatists' campaign against fake Amarnath route plan
11/20/2012 11:25:43 PM

Early Times Report

JAMMU, Nov 20 : Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Jammu State Morcha (JSM) leaders have criticized Kashmiri separatists for trying to give a communal and political colour to the traditional annual Amarnath pilgrimage by "unnecessarily" raking up "extraneous" issues, including environmental degradation and pollution.
Referring to the campaign having been launched by chairman Hurriyat Conference (G), Syed Ali Shah Geelani, against "unimaginary" plan of the Shrine Board to construct a tarred road from Pahalgam to the holy cave and against the plan of constructing a township at Baltal the VHP and he JSM leaders have stated that when there was neither the plan to construct a metalled road and a township the separatists were simply whipping up communal passions and unrest.
The Chief of VHP, Dr Ramakant Dubey, and a senior JSM leader, Ashwini Kumar, have stated that there was no justification for the separatists to campaign against the constitution of the Amarnath Shrine Board. They said that the Board had been constituted after the Shrine Board, set up for Mata Vaishno Devi,had achieved major success in developing the environs around the shrine and the facilities for the pilgrims. They said that Geelani was favouring Kashmiri Pandits to run the affairs of the yatra which was not possible when over 95 percent of the Pandit population had migrated to the plains since the rise of militancy related violence. The V HP and the JSM leaders also expressed their dismay over the allegations that growing rush of pilgrims to the holy cave of Amarnath would pollute the entire environment adding that when during the last over 150 years the environs of the cave shrine and the mountain routes from Pahalgam to the cave and from Baltal to the shrine had not got polluted why should it then lead to environmental degradation now. These leaders wanted to inform the separatists that whatever waste material was being thrown on the mountain routes would get consumed under deep snow and ice that would keep the entire area out of bounds for over five months.
They said that the Government and the separatists need to encourage bigger pilgrim traffic to Amarnath cave as it would help porters, ponywallas and hoteliers, besides traders and transporters to earn a fortune. They said that the pilgrim traffic to the shrines of Vaishno Devi and Amarnath cave have become a permanent affair.They said that over 70 lakh pilgrims to Vaishno Devi and over five lakh pilgrims to Amarnath cave have the potential for becoming a backbone of the state's economy.
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