Amarnath pilgrims return with tales of terror

via UNI published on July 7, 2008

Dharamshala : Even as the controversy over the allotment of land to Amarnath Shrine Board by the Jammu and Kashmir Government refuses to die, the pilgrims to the famous shrine have returned with tales of terror with the Jammu and Kashmir Police being a mute spectator. 

A mob attack the pilgrims at Baltal on July one and their vehicles damaged, while the Jammu and Kashmir Police stood as a mute spectator to this terror, pilgrims Ravikant Dogra, Sanjay Sharma and Suresh Rana said at a press conference here.

”We had dharshan of the icelingum in the holy cave on June 29 and returned to Baltal on June 30 morning but were not allowed to proceed to Srinagar by the Jammu and Kashmir police,” they alleged.

The following day a huge mob beat up pilgrims and damaged at least 25 vehicles and forced pilgrims to raise ”Pakistan Zindabad” slogans, while the state police personnel did nothing, they alleged.

They said at one point of time they wanted to leave the vehicles there and rush home, but it was a state of helplessness and they had no option but to face the mob wrath.

Besides, they alleged, the pilgrims were charged Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 per person for getting shelter in a tent near the cave on June 29.

A bottle of water was sold to them at Rs 46 and 250 ml milk bottle at Rs.40 with no official of the state government present to redress their grievances, they added.

Meanwhile, VHP spokesman Ravi Shankar spokesperson has demanded the sacking of Ghulam Nabi Azad Government should sacked, saying that the security of the entire journey to the cave should be handed over to the Army and para military forces.

Following the tales of terror narrated by the pilgrims the Jammu and Kashmir Police should be removed from both Phalgam and Baltal tracks, he added.

The VHP leader also criticized the Azad Government for succumbing under militant pressure and reverting its earlier decision on the allotment of land to the Amrnath shrine board.

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