Hurriyat (G) Opposes SASB Plan, Says Regulate Yatra Like Gangotri

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Shrine Board Should Reverse “Arrogant” Decision: En Rasheed

SRINAGAR: A day after the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) announced a 55-day Yatra this year, the Hurriyat (G) on Friday hit out at its “high-handed” schedule and demanded that the annual holy trek in the fragile Kashmir Himalayas be strictly regulated like the Gangotri pilgrimage.

The alliance has already convened its top decision-making-body to discuss the SASB move extending the event by over two weeks, and said that it would also contact  chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who is in New Delhi, to frame its course of action.

Asserting that it would decide its strategy over the issue in consultation with all sections of society, the Hurriyat (G) lambasted the state government for its prostrate submission before the diktat of the Shrine Board which, it said, had virtually become “a state within a state.”  

“We are not against any religion or the yatra, but this (new yatra schedule) is flagrant aggression by New Delhi to convey to Kashmiris that they are a colony and decisions concerning the state can be taken in the Indian capital without taking its people into confidence,” the Hurriyat (G) spokesman, Ayaz Akbar, said.

“Such diktats make it clear that the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board has effectively turned into a state-within-a-state, and it chairman, the Jammu and Kashmir governor has become a  British viceroy,” he said.

“By issuing the schedule in New Delhi, the state’s rulers have been sent a message that they nothing more than employees with no role in decisions on sensitive and important issues,” he said.

Describing the state government as a “wax dummy,” the Hurriyat (G) said that it would not have tolerated such humiliation if some shreds of dignity and self-respect left.  

Meanwhile, the independent MLA from Langate, Engineer Abdul Rasheed, also came out against the Shrine Board’s “arrogance,” and deplored “hidden hands which want to keep one or the other issue about the yatra always on the boil.”    

“The worst enemies of Kashmiris, and even communal forces, have always admitted that Kashmir’s majority community has always offered whole-hearted support to the yatra under all circumstances,” the legislator said.

“But it is unfortunate that hidden hands always want to keep one issue or the other on the boil with regard to yatra,” he said.

“It was environmental experts, civil society members and other well-meaning institutions who were demanding that the duration of the yatra should be cut down for various reasons, but it is highly unfortunate that the Shine Board has taken a reverse decision,” he said.

“The long duration has not only been proving as an environmental disaster but also effecting the working in civil secretariat and other essential departments badly. The Shrine Board should not show arrogance, and it will be proper and in the interest of everybody if the decision to extend yatra is reversed at the earliest,” he said.

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