In a fresh twist to the controversy surrounding the 'Shivlingam' in the Holy cave of Amarnath, the Chief Executive of the Shrine Board admitted that it was 'tampered' with even as religious leaders and the saffron brigade demanded that the truth be made public.
"We received some complaints that some people had brought some snow and put on top of the usual Shivling. We don't defend that but this is something which has happened in the past," Arun Kumar, Chief Executive of the Shree Amarnath Shrine Board and principal secretary to the Jammu and Kashmir Governor said.
Acknowledging that the Board received a complaint in this regard on June 7, he told a private news channel "there were some dirt marks. We cleared all that. We raised the grid to almost five feet. We put a lock. Our people are out there so that no further tampering takes place."
He, however, was quick to add, "Our belief is that the Shivlingam has naturally formed howsoever small it maybe."
Board's Chairman and state Governor SK Sinha asserted, "There is no artificial lingam there."
"I inaugurated the Yatra on the 11th. All of you in the media were there. Thousands of pilgrims were also present. No one said anything at that time. Now suddenly, there is all this controversy. What is all the fuss about?" Sinha asked reporters.
Expressing shock over the alleged tampering, Mahant Deependra Giri, Custodian of the Holy Mace (Chhari Mubarak) of Lord Shiva, sought appointment of a judicial commission headed by a Supreme Court judge to "find out the truth".