Separatists gear-up to fuel the Amarnath Yatra controversy again

published on May 16, 2009

Geelani’s venomous utterances may stir another communal disturbance in J&K

Two Month long Yatra would disturb ecology of Kashmir: Geelani

Author: King C Bharati

Jammu, May 14: With elections over and government lifting ban on the movement of separatists the hardliners among the separatist camp have begun lapping up another issue to keep their pot of hate politics boiling in Jammu and Kashmir and what can be the best issue other than the Amarnath Yatra which is round the corner.

Having tasted blood during the last years Amarnath Yatra agitation the hawk among separatists Sayed Ali Shah Geelani has fired his first salvo against the Amarnath Yatra saying the two month long yatra would prove hazardous to the ecology of Kashmir.

Geelani’s venomous language against the holy yatra is likely to stir yet another controversy in the state and may fuel communal disturbances dividing the two regions once again on communal lines.

While trading community is yet to overcome the distance created between the two regions by last years agitation Geelani’s comments are likely to provoke Hindus in Jammu and elsewhere who may seem it as yet another interference in their religious affairs by Kashmiris even as the inclusion of Muslim members in Advisory Committee of Shrine Board is yet to die down.

While Hindus say that government has tried to poke its nose in their religious affairs and dilute their identity by including Muslim memerbs in Advisory Committee of Amarnath Shrine Board, they question why no such committee is formed for the Wakf Board or why Hindus are not made members since the Wakf Board operates throughout the state unlike the Amarnath Shrine Board.

However Jammuites expect nothing from the Omar led government knowing that it was Omar Abdullah whose anti-Hindu and anti-national comments inside the
parliament sparked the whole agitation sending the state into flames.

With Omar and Vohra at the helm and Congress in support it is anybody’s guess what can be expected from this coalition government now Meanwhile in order to court yet another controversy over the annual pilgrimage to famous Amarnath Cave Shrine Geelani has said that the yatra period should be minimized to reduce the harm to local ecology as two month long yatra attracts large number of pilgrims thus affecting the ecology.

Geelani tried to re-ignite the Amarnath Yatra controversy while talking to media persons in Srinagar today a day after the polling ended and the restrictions on his movement were lifted by the government.Geelani attacked the two month yatra to coincide with the issuing of
two-month long yatra calendar by the Amarnath Shrine Board which begins on June 7 and would last till August 5.

Trying to balance his communal tone and not to offend the trading community which suffered huge losses last year, Geelani said that Kashmiris were not against the Amarnath pilgrimage and tourists have always been welcomed but his concern was the ecology of Kashmir as if all other issues of Kashmir have been settled for ever.

Geelani said that the yatra was going on smoothly for decades without any hindrance but prolonging its duration has cast a shadow over it since past couple of years.It may be recalled that J&K witnessed one of the worst communal divide between twin regions of Kashmir and Jammu when Kashmiris alleged that Shrine Board had a hidden agenda to change the demography of the Kashmir by erecting temporary shelters at Baltal and settling outsiders there.

The controversy reached to zenith when the government remained silent and allowed separatists to have a field day by leveling frivolous and false allegations of economic blockade etc.

Jammu on the other hand remained resilient and witnessed historic two month long agitation crippling the economy and shutting all business with violent street fights between police and Jammuites for two months.

The agitation was later suspended on the assurances of the government but the pro Kashmir government ditched Jammuites on all the promises made to them besides spreading rumours about the leadership of Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti (SAYSS) to create divide within the Jammuites.

Unfortunately Jammu leadership failed to see the evil design of the government and succumbed to their propaganda letting the pro-Kashmir government to take them for yet another ride.

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