Geelani protests ‘upcoming road’ to Amarnath Cave
Says Govt Planning Pilgrim City Around The Shrine
Srinagar, Oct 18: The Chairman Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Geelani Thursday termed the ‘government plan’ to construct road to Amarnath cave as ‘dangerous and a design to change the demography of the State.’ The aged separatist leader threatened that the agitation to counter the government program would be announced after Eid-ul-Azha.
“They have a design to cut off the entire area from Kashmir and set up Amarnath city there,” Geelani said addressing a press conference here. “We will talk to other (separatist) groups on the issue and announce an agitation program after the coming Eid.”
Geelani accused the State government of resorting to lies to mislead people on the constructions around Amarnath cave. “In August the so-called Finance Minister told a press conference that no road is being constructed in the area.
It was a lie,” said Geelani. “The Amarnath Shrine Board is emerging as a State within the State. The so-called Chief Minister is helpless before the Governor and New Delhi.”
According to official figures, around 6.30 lakh pilgrims performed Amarnath Yatra (pilgrimage) this year. The pilgrimage witnessed 130 deaths of which 88 were due to medical reasons and 42 due to accidents.
Geelani questioned the construction of road and said State government was not allowing locals to carry out renovation work of their houses in Pahalgam and Chandanwari.
“For the past three months construction material is being dumped in Seeshnag and adjoining areas of the cave. The government is silent on it and instead saving its chair,” Geelani said.
He accused National Conference-led State government of “maintaining criminal silence on the serious issue.”
“Since 1947, the National Conference has stuck to its policy to save chair at the cost of nation and State resources,” Geelani said.
On the occasion, Geelani’s aides displayed photographs which showed material dumped and construction work going on.
“This is being done in Sheeshnag area and other places on way to the cave,” Geelani said.
The aged leader reiterated his demand that the pilgrimage period should be restricted to two weeks and its affairs be handed over to Kashmiri Pandits.
“The Yatra time should be limited to 15 days and a limited number of Yatris should be allowed everyday like in the case of Gangotri in Uttaranchal,” Geelani said. “Dissolve the Amarnath Shrine Board and hand over affairs of the Yatra to Kashmiri Pandits,” he demanded.
The Supreme Court has directed the State government and the SASB to immediately start implementing the safety measures to minimize the deaths and ensure smooth pilgrimage.
The government and the SASB have been reportedly asked to begin the widening of the track between Baltal and the cave.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 18 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 18 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 19 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST
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