Once again the Vishwa Hindu Parishad state unit has shown its discontentment over the new advisory issued by Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) that includes 55 days' period for the Amarnath pilgrimage this year.
Since no public resentment has come to fore on the issue so far, the VHP move to rake up the matter makes no sense, alleges the common man. "We think this time around, government has sensibly issued the advisory taking into consideration the time period as well the health recommendations for the pilgrims," said Naresh Abrol, a regular pilgrim to Amarnath yatra for the past five years.
However, VHP head Ramakant has his own views. "Every year, the SASB announces new dates for the yatra, which is not fair at all as it creates confusion among the devotees coming from the different states and is also a mockery with the Hindu mythology, which could not be tolerated by the VHP anymore," he said, adding that this year's demand is conducting the yatra from Jayesth Purnima after performing rituals at the holy cave to Shravan Purnima, which is the eve of Raksha Bandan, as per the Hindu mythology.
Though every year, the state VHP have been creating furore over the issue only to settle down to government's call on it later, people have started looking at the issue with suspicion.
"Never ever it has happened in preceding years that government had conceded to VHP's demand. Only after a few days of hoopla, things used to settle down on government' directives, with VHP vowing to take it up next year. We are now feeling some indecent arrangement beneath all this," said another regular visitor to the holy cave, wishing not to be named.
As of now, the VHP has decided to take up the issue at the Sant Sammelan at Prayagraj for which a team of nearly 10 VHP activists left Jammu on Thursday evening. The team will raise the issue of conducting the yatra as per the Hindu mythology from Jayesth Purnima to Shravan Purnima and will decided the future course of action for pressing the state government and SASB over the said demand once and for all.
SASB chief executive officer (CEO) Navin Kumar Choudhary in a statement given last year had said it is not possible to maintain a fixed duration of the yatra every year.
As per the yatra schedule for the 2013 announced by the SASB, it will commence from June 28 and conclude on August 21, the day of Raksha Bandan, and the duration will be 55 days as was in 2010.
Also, the decision of increasing the yatra duration to 55 days was strongly opposed by the Hurriyat Conference (Geelani), alleging that SASB is hell-bent upon to legitimise the presence of troops. It reiterated its demand to hand over the administration of the Amarnath shrine board to local pandits and to regulate the pilgrimage on the Gangotri pattern