World Council of Arya Samaj president Swami Agnivesh has said that his May 17 statement on Ice Shivalinga in the Amarnath cave wasn't made with the "slightest of intentions" to hurt the religious feelings of Hindus or for that matter people of any faith who undertake the pilgrimage to the holy shrine.
Seeking to put at rest the controversy over his remarks, he claimed he was dragged into "unnecessary litigation" over his observations about the Burfani Baba (Ice Shivalinga). "My intention was to suggest some kind of control on this pilgrimage (as is the case in Gangotri or other holy pilgrimages in the Himalayas) because such enormous number of pilgrims was bound to affect the fragile natural balance of the highly sensitive eco system," he said.
Agnivesh said the pilgrimage promoted communal harmony and national integration as the nearly five lakh Hindus who participated in it every year were facilitated by hundreds of Muslims engaged in transport and horse and pony service. "But the unregulated and much hyped pilgrimage more than once resulted in the complete melting down of Burfani Baba. The then governor of Jammu and Kashmir instead of taking the necessary regulatory steps, made a mockery of the whole 'religious significance' by transporting artificial ice in his official helicopter and installed an artificial Burfani Baba," he said.
Aginvesh said he was inspired by the teachings of Vedas and Upanishads as propounded by Maharishi Dayanand, the founder of Arya Samaj (a reformist movement against blind faith, fundamentalism, obscurantism and religious bigotry amongst different religions and faiths in general and Hindus in particular). For that reason, he viewed the Amarnath a spectacular natural phenomena.