GoI politicizing Yatra: Geelani
‘Kashmiri Pandits Should Manage Pilgrimage’
Srinagar, Sep 1: Claiming that Amarnath Shrine Board has become a ‘launching pad for communal parties to give shape to their nefarious designs’ in J&K, Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani Saturday said that influx of lakhs of yatris in Kashmir is ‘religious, social and ecological aggression.’
“India is politicizing the yatra in Kashmir. In the past it was limited to religious affairs. About 30 to 100 people were visiting the cave shrine but now India is increasingly using it as a tool for strengthening its control over Jammu
and Kashmir. It is one of the main pillars of military control in Kashmir. Lakhs of people are invited to frighten the local people and give them an impression that India is not going to leave them,” Geelani said at a press conference at his Hyderpora residence.
Geelani quoted articles from Government of India’s Press Information Bureau which appeared in 2008: “Challenging heights of Kashmir will rope in devotees and give them an opportunity to show solidarity with the soldiers who are manning the borders against the enemy.”
He also cited an essay of noted historian and columnist A G Noorani which states that yatra has ‘turned into a communal aggression and is totally devoid of religious purity.’
Taking a dig at New Delhi for its ‘double standards,’ Geelani said, “Fifty times more yatris come to Kashmir as compared to the past. About 630,000 yatris have visited Kashmir this year. However, only 18000 yatris are allowed to visit Gangotri pilgrimage site every year in a BJP-ruled state. Environmental experts say that 55,000 kilograms are littered everyday by the yatris. Since 1990, 40 percent of glaciers have melted away due to heavy presence of yatris in these areas where 15 to 18 thousand yatris visit every day.”
Geelani also said that Shrine Board has become a State within the State which dictates terms to state Government over the conduct of yatra. “Shrine Board is same as British East India Company. All the employees are from outside the state. The chairman has to be a Hindu. In these two months of yatra, Shrine Board rules the state,” he alleged.
Appealing the local Pandit families to look after the management of yatra in the state, Geelani said, “Local Pandit brothers should manage the affairs of the yatra. Muslim brothers should join hands with them to provide all needed support like horses and other things.”
Geelani said that land transferred to Shrine Board, which triggered agitation in 2008, is still lying with the Board after they got stay order from High Court.
On the issue of Supreme Court taking notice of deaths of yatris in Kashmir, Geelani said that it exposed the free flow of yatris to Kashmir facilitated by New Delhi and Shrine Board under a plan. “The fault lies with the checking system. If they would have checked their health before allowing them to move for yatra, situation might have been different. Moreover around 150 Hajj pilgrims die every year from India during Hajj. Compared with that, death of 94 yatris in six lakh yatris is likely,” he said.
“Why the Apex Court has failed to intervene in incidents like Chitisingpora massacre, Kupwara massacre, rapes of hundreds of women, enforced disappearances on mass scale?” Geelani questioned.
However Geelani said that Kashmiris are not against the yatra. “Amarnath Yatra has been going on from 1867. We are not against yatra. Any good Muslim can never be against the festivals of other religions. We have history of religious tolerance. Even in 2008 when whole Kashmir was on roads to protest against the selling of land, yatra passed off peacefully and people offered meals to the yatris in the wake of strike across Kashmir,” Geelani said.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 1 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 1 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 2 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM FRONTPAGE
- Faizan detention triggers cry for child rights in JK
- Govt has failed to deal with juvenile delinquencies: Experts
- SHRC issues notice to Gill
- CCC meets, decides to meet again
- GoI politicizing Yatra: Geelani
- Calls for strike on September 4
- Waqf Board staff caught stealing donations
- Dr Farooq supports Indo-Pak dialogue
- Yasin Malik, others arrested in Kulgam
- Militant killed at Kangan
Barbed Wires, Heavy Security Grid Troubles Locals, Tourists
SHABIR IBN YUSUF/MUKEET AKMALI
Pahalgam, Sep 1: A heavy security bandobast for shooting of Shahrukh Khan’s untitled film here has become a cause of huge inconvenience for tourists and local businessmen. Business fraternity here More
- Srinagar City
Srinagar, Sep 1: To review the developmental works being taken up for beautification of Jamia Masjid, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Dr Asgar Samoon visited the area Saturday. Among others who More
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Jammu, Sep 1: Centre's former interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir today said the primary aim of their current visit to the state is to submit the feedback, received from different political parties on the More