Mufti creating hurdles
From Khajuria S. Kant in Jammu
The Amarnath Shrine Board headed by governor, Lt-Gen S.K. Sinha (retd), and the J&K government this year is once again heading for the confrontation prior to the beginning of the annual pilgrimage on one or other issues.
Mufti Mohd Sayeed led government is always creating hurdles in the smooth passage of Amarnath Yatra year after year as it is a great Hindu pilgrimage.
This time the state government has in an appeal before the High Court challenged the jurisdiction of the Board that organises the pilgrimage. The action of the state government has come following the High court judgment that the state government would not raise objection about the duration of pilgrimage.
Deputy Chief Minister, Mr. Mangat Ram Sharma, has also trained his guns on Mufti on this issue and made it clear that curtailment in the duration of the pilgrimage will not be allowed.
The curtailment of the pilgrimage to one month last year by the state government was challenged by various organisations in the court. The Governor and the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, had locked their horns over the duration of pilgrimage taking the plea of security. While the former wanted to stretch it to two months, the later curtailed it to one month, despite protest of various religious organisations. This time also the issue has been raised just a month before the scheduled pilgrimage. It will begin on June 21 and end on August 19. On the issue of duration and security of the Yatra, the Governor had said, ?It is our decision to conduct Yatra for two months and keeping in view the importance of the auspicious day (Purnima) the Shrine Board has taken a decision to commence Yatra on June 21?. Referring to the recent meeting of the top officers of all the security agencies including Army and Paramilitary Forces, the Governor said that the Security Advisor to the State has given security clearance for the smooth conduct of the annual Yatra.
Several organisations and a few partners of Mufti coalition have accused the state government of interfering in the religious affairs of Hindus. The Deputy Chief Minister, Mr. Mangat Ram Sharma, has also trained his guns on Mufti on this issue and made it clear that curtailment in the duration of the pilgrimage will not be allowed. As former Chief Minister and National Conference leader, Dr Farooq Abdullah, has also accused the Mufti of interfering in the religious affairs of Hindus. Dr Abdullah has said that being a Muslim majority state; the steps being taken by the Mufti government will send a wrong signal across the country that problems were being created for the Hindus in J&K.
Shortly after the High Court passed its judgment, the state government has appealed against the order.
It is being pointed out by various organisations that the state government wanted to curtail the powers of the shrine board by challenging its jurisdiction. The state authorities were claiming that the jurisdiction of the shrine board was just around the periphery of the cave shrine and not on its three days long track route from Pahalgam.