Terming the government statements regarding the Amarnath Yatra as politically motivated, the incarcerated chairman of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) Shabir Ahmad Shah on Friday said the people of Jammu Kashmir have since centuries upheld the tradition of communal brotherhood by taking every step to ensure the smooth conduction of Yatra.“But some elements are always hell bent on vitiating the atmosphere of mutual brotherhood by tried to create a wedge between different communities,” Shah said in a statement issued to press.He reiterated his demand for restricting the duration of annual Amarnath Yatra to minimum time period in view of the fragile environmental conditions of the mountainous region.“We’re not against the Yatra but the aggressive way the pilgrimage is being conducted and its duration extended is totally unacceptable to us. We also reject the point that Amarnath Yatra boosts economy of the state at a large scale. The arrival of limitless pilgrims to a mountainous region largely affects the surroundings and leaves negative effects upon the overall environment of the state,” Shah said.
Terming the huge concentration of Yatris as the main reason behind the melting of glaciers in mountainous region, floods, and diseases like Hepatitis, Shah said “a war-like situation is being created here and communalism being promoted”.Citing the example of Uttarakhand, Shabir Shah said, “We demand the Yatra should be conducted on the same pattern – short and limited.” “In Uttarakhand, Yatra concludes in a given timeframe and a limited number of people are allowed for pilgrimage but a volatile situation is being created by allowing lakhs of Yatris in J&K,” he said.Shah asked authorities to stop playing politics over the issue and restrict the duration of Yatra otherwise it will yield serious repercussions. He also expressed concern over the interference of non-state subjects in the Shrine Board and said only Kashmiri locals and Pandits should be tasked with the job of handling the affairs of the Board.Condemning the propaganda under the garb of Amarnath Yatra, the DFP chairman said though our labourers, trade bodies and hoteliers leave no stone unturned to provide every possible facility to Yatris, it is unfortunate that some sick-minded elements are directing the pilgrims to boycott these local service providers. “Such provocation will give rise to volatile situation,” he said.
Hailing the age-old tradition of communal brotherhood of Kashmiris, Shah said last year when bullets were being showered on our people; they still ensured the safety, security, and every facility for Yatris while putting their lives in danger. “As far as hospitalisation is concerned, no one in the world can match Kashmiris. Still, the elements with vested interests run propaganda against us,” he said.Shabir Ahmad Shah also condemned the valley wide oppression by police and forces on people and students. He said on one hand, the career of our children is being ruined and on other side hundreds of students are being put behind bars. He termed it barbaric the use of brute force against the shopkeepers, passersby, and transporters in Pulwama and said the teargas shelling on shopkeepers is the height of oppression. “If such approach against people is not stopped, the whole nation will rise against it,” he said.“India has waged a war against the people and resistance leadership of Jammu Kashmir,” Shah added. (CNS)