'Amarnath shrine board effective as ever'
Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra on Tuesday said Shri Amarnath Shrine Board will continue to perform its statutory role with zeal and dedication, and that its functioning will be strengthened by associating with it people of eminence from the state.
Vohra is ex-officio chairman of the shrine board.
In a message, the governor said during his interaction with a cross section of the civil society in the winter capital during the past two days, he gained the impression that the sentiments of the people of the region have been "hurt owing to certain misconception", which need to be cleared by viewing the facts in the right perspective.
The message comes on the eve of the shutdown on Wednesday called by some Hindu groups in Jammu.
Vohra said the shrine board has come into being by an act of the state legislature, by virtue of which "its statutory role stands well defined."
"Therefore, there cannot be any dilution of the assigned role of the board," he added.
The governor said that the SASB has been providing various facilities to the pilgrims and "will continue to do so, at an enhanced scale whenever necessary".
He reiterated that the facilities would further be improved under the aegis of the shrine board in the years to come.
Jammu and Kashmir was rocked by a series of violent protests over the controversial transfer of forest land in north Kashmir to the SASB. The Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley opposed the move, forcing the government to revoke the deal July 1 after the governor asked the state government to ensure facilities and security for annual pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine in south Kashmir.
But some Hindu groups in Jammu have been demanding the land should be restored to the shrine board for the facilities of thousands of pilgrims to the mountainside shrine, housing a 'lingam' or a stalagmite structure, which is seen as an icon of Lord Shiva, one of the Hindu trinity.