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Not declared Amarnath cave shrine as silent zone, clarifies NGT

The NGT had earlier said declaring the area around the Amarnath cave shrine a ‘silence zone’ would be helpful in preventing avalanches and maintaining its pristine nature.

india Updated: Dec 14, 2017 12:38 IST
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Amarnath Temple‬,‪National Green Tribunal Act‬,‪Hinduism‬‬
The Amarnath cave shrine is considered one of the major holy shrines by the Hindus. The cave itself is covered with snow most of the year barring a short period of time in summer when it is opened for pilgrims.(PTI File Photo)

Following protests over its decision, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) clarified on Thursday it has not declared a “silence zone” at the Amarnath cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said due silence has to be maintained only in front of the ice stalagmite resembling the Shiva Linga.

A detailed order is still awaited.

The green tribunal declared the cave shrine as a “silence zone” on Wednesday and prohibited religious offerings beyond the entry point.

It had earlier said declaring the area around the Amarnath cave shrine a “silence zone” would be helpful in preventing avalanches and maintaining its pristine nature.

The Amarnath cave shrine is considered one of the major holy shrines by the Hindus. The cave itself is covered with snow most of the year barring a short period of time in summer when it is opened for pilgrims.

NGT’s clarification Thursday followed protests by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a Hindu right-wing outfit, which had termed its earlier order as a “Tughlaki fatwa” (whimsical whip). It had said that Hindus were not responsible for every ecological problem on the earth.

However, environment activist Gauri Maulekhi, on whose plea the directions were passed, had welcomed the order and termed it “good and progressive”.

“The Amarnath cave is located in a delicate ecosystem. The directions would make the Amarnath Yatra safe and convenient for the devotees. This would protect the shrine from degradation and ensure it is protected for the coming generations. It is indeed a very good and progressive direction,” Maulekhi had told PTI Wednesday.

First Published: Dec 14, 2017 12:38 IST