Geelani Lying, Yatra People’s Livelihood: Farooq

Aerial Survey A Diversionary Tactic: Hurriyat (G)
Srinagar, Nov 01: Lashing out at hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah on Thursday accused him of lying on Amarnath Yatra issue and said the annual pilgrimage provides livelihood to poor people of Kashmir.

Abdullah termed Kashmir as a ‘necklace with pearls of different religious beliefs’.

“Kashmir is a peer vaer (land of Saints and Sufis), and everyone has lived here in communal harmony, no one has the right to disturb the social fabric,” Abdullah, who is also President of the ruling National Conference, told reporters on the sidelines of a function at Nagbal in Ganderbal district.

“Kashmir is a necklace with pearls of different religious beliefs. We will not allow anyone to dilute Kashmiriyat,” he added.

Abdullah lashed out at Geelani, saying he was lying to the people on the issue of road widening or construction along the routes leading to holy cave shrine of Amarnath.

“The entire media has had an aerial tour and taken a firsthand look at the route and not found a single road being constructed anywhere. Where do they get this false information from?” he asked.

“It proves they want to destabilise the social fabric of the state by inciting people,” he said adding, “poor people in Pahalgam and Sonmarg earn their livelihood when these yatris perform darshan. I don’t understand why these leaders are hell bent to take away their livelihood.”

Admitting that LPG is a huge problem in the state keeping in view the harsh weather conditions, he said J&K should be considered as a special case.

The minister further said, “People in Indian states can buy a gas cylinder at the cost of Rs 800 but J&K should be considered as a special case given the harsh weather it faces during winters. The people of J&K should be given more cylinders keeping in view the acute cold conditions it faces in winters.”

“The Omar Abdullah government and our ministers have requested the Prime Minister and also the Union petroleum minister to increase the cap for our state and we are hopeful of a positive outcome soon,” he said.

Journos’ Aerial Survey A Diversionary Tactic: Hurriyat (G)
Terming the officially conducted aerial survey of the Baltal Amarnath track by a select group of journalists as an attempt to divert the attention from the main issue, Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani Thursday said it saw the emergence of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board as a state within state as a serious threat for the special status and constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and would not take it lying down.

In a statement, the Hurriyat (G) spokesman said the conglomerate had never talked of any macadam being laid on the track or any structure having been raised in the area. He reiterated the demand for dissolving the SASB, entrusting management of the yatra to local Kashmiri Pandits and restricting its size and duration.

“On the basis of tell-tale pictures taken during a recce, Hurriyat had claimed that the SASB was dumping building material on a large scale along the track ahead of Chandanwari giving rise to the apprehension of the same being used for its gradual widening and blacktopping,” he said, adding that by raising the issue of macadam again and again the government was trying to hoodwink public opinion.

For scientific reasons, the spokesman said, Hurriyat Conference was of considered view that continuing the annual pilgrimage for months on end and 50-fold rise in the number of pilgrims was bound to immensely harm the fragile ecology, forests and environment. “If the trend is not halted immediately, there is the likelihood of the abundant water resources drying up and the valley turning into a barren wasteland in the next 20 years,” he warned.

With a view to rousing public concern over the grave issue, the spokesman said, the Hurriyat Conference would embark on a vigorous mass awareness campaign and consultation with experts of forests and environment besides the civil society groups.

“It is a question of life and death for the valley people and because the Hurriyat Conference represents the interests and aspirations of a vast majority of them, it will not be found wanting to resist the sinister moves of the Indian government,” he said. adding that unless the National Conference-led government was following New Delhi’s diktat, it should come clean on the issue.

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