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HindustanTimes Tue,29 Jul 2014

Geelani accuses govt of politicising yatra in Kashmir, calls for shutdown

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, September 01, 2012
First Published: 20:37 IST(1/9/2012) | Last Updated: 20:37 IST(1/9/2012)

Hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Saturday called for a one-day shutdown against any attempt to make permanent roads up to the shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir.

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"New Delhi is doing politics in the garb of the Amarnath pilgrimage. It's trying to intimidate people here by resorting to aggression. The pilgrimage is being projected like a military project," said Geelani during a press conference.

The Hurriyat has asked people to observe a complete shutdown on September 4 as a mark of protest.

Accusing the government of politicising the yatra, Geelani said, “For the past 145 years, the yatra is on. The people of are not against it as they will continue to do host them.”

Geelani has asked the government to regulate number of pilgrims and reduce the yatra period to original 15 days.

“The yatra and the increasing number of pilgrims are being project in a way that the government will not leave India,” alleged Geelani.

Asking the government to desist from paving metalled roads up to the shrine, located at a height of 14,000 feet in south Kashmir’s Pahalgam area, Geelani said, “Any infrastructure building will impact the ecology of the area and become source of disaster for people of Kashmir.”

Geelani accused the Shri Amarnath Board Shrine of “acting state within a state”. “Local Kashmiri Pandits should come forward to run the yatra as the board is just like the East India Company with most members from outside the state,” he added.

In 2008, a row around allocation land to the shrine board for infrastructure building sparked a major street protests, with Kashmir region and Jammu region divided over it.


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