Amarnath Yatra : Jihadists begin terror spree; Centre warns of strict action

via HK published on June 6, 2015

With the holy Amarnath Yatra all set to begin on 2 July, Jihadists have started their session of attacks, along with calls by separatist leaders to cut short the duration of yatra. Referring to the attacks on telecommunication towers in Kashmir Valley as being “attempts by anti-national forces to disturb the situation” ahead of the annual Amarnath Yatra which begins on July 2, Union Minister of State (MoS) PMO and senior J&K BJP leader Dr Jitendra Singh has said that Centre has asked the state government to take strict action against “such disruptive forces”.

“Whenever the yatra starts, there is disturbance in the Valley,” said Singh in a press conference in Jammu. “There is now a competitive political upmanship over such disturbance. Some people, to appease separatists, start it and then some mainstream parties also fall into the trap,” he added.

The state government is battling to restore telecommunication networks in summer capital Srinagar, besides north Kashmir’s Baramulla and Kupwara districts, after a series of attacks on mobile towers and people associated with telecom companies. At least two people were killed in the attacks.

Police said they have restored functioning of more than half of the 1,058 towers that were affected, after many people whose compounds housed some of the towers shut the facilities due to the threat.

The Amarnath Yatra, to the cave-shrine of Lord Shiva in the Himalayas, will last 59 days. Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani recently, as like in the past, warned the government to curtail the yatra period to a month, saying it affected the region’s fragile ecology.

However, Jitendra Singh rubbished Geelani’s warning and said the yatra can be conducted in the state “across the year” without any threat to the ecology. Dr Singh said that scientific evidence has shown no impact of the pilgrimage on ecology and asserted that there was no embargo on the yatra. The hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani and other separatist leaders are demanding reduction in yatra duration to prevent damage to ecology.

“We have a geological survey report and scientific evidence which says that Amarnath Yatra can be held round the year without any threat to environment or ecology of South Kashmir Himalyas. Scientific evidence has shown no impact of Yatra on the ecology,” Singh told reporters during a press conference here.

The duration of Amarnath yatra this year is 59 days and will begin on July 2.

“There was no embargo on the duration of Yatra to cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas, and the duration is determined by the auspicious time,” Singh said adding the pilgrimage takes place in two auspicious months as per Hindu calendar. He said the dates have been finalized by Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) and they will not interfere in the religious part.

Stating that the environmental concerns are genuine, Singh said, “Separatists are trying to politicize the issue and we won’t let this to happen”.

The minister, who was in Srinagar to highlight the NDA government’s achievements on completion of its one year in power, said the government possessed a geological survey that established that the yatra was no threat to the ecosystem. “It is just that the pilgrimage takes place in the two auspicious months according to Hindu calendar,” he added.

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