Pilgrims urge government to review decision on Amarnath yatra
An advisory issued by the state government on Friday asking Amarnath yatris and tourists to return homes immediately has caught pilgrims to one of Hinduism’s holiest shrines unawares.
Though no official announcement was made at the Yatri Niwas base camp till 5.30 pm, pilgrims from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra, Karnataka and other states were upset at not being able to complete their pilgrimage.
Narayan Sain, 62, a marginal farmer from Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh, said he borrowed money to undertake the pilgrimage, and started crying when he came to know about the government advisory.
“The dream of having a darshan of the lord has been shattered,” said Sain with tears in his eyes.
Mohan Rao, 65, from Bidar in Karnataka, one of a group of 40 pilgrims from the state said, “We have travelled over 2,000 kms in buses to reach here. Each one of us has spent Rs 30,000 for the Yatra. Now, cancelling it and asking us to return home is totally a wrong decision,” he said.
Labo Devi, 60 from Ujjain was equally distraught.
“How could they do thiso? We have travelled hundreds of miles to reach here. We are not going back without visiting the shrine,” she said.
Yogendra Sarkar, 33, from Kolkatta said he was disappointed but added that his group will now ” go to Vaishno Devi (near Jammu) before returning home’, he said.
Some pilgrims were still hopeful.
Baba Krishnajee Achalkar, 66, from Kottyam said, “We have travelled over 3300 km with a desire to pay obeisance at the shrine. We have come here for the first time and we urge the government to review its decision and allow the remaining pilgrims to visit the shrine.”
Shanti Bai, 60 from Chhatarpur in MP, one of a group of 80 said the move was sudden. “How the security scenario deteriorated overnight and if it was so, why the authorities concerned didn’t stop registration. We are here for the past four days.”