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Amarnath shrine board gets clean chit

The probe concludes that the 'artificial' lingam is indeed a natural stalagmite formation ? an icon of Lord Shiva.

india Updated: Aug 18, 2006 13:38 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The one-man inquiry ordered to probe the alleged tampering with the Shivalingam at the Amarnath cave shrine in Jammu and Kashmir has given a clean chit to the temple board.

The shrine attracts a large number of pilgrims during the June-August period when a Lingam, a stalagmite formation that is an icon of Lord Shiva of the Hindu trinity, forms naturally. However, media reports suggested the shrine authorities had artificially created the Lingam this year, as it did not form naturally.

According to informed sources, the inquiry headed by Justice (retd) KK Gupta of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court found "nothing wrong" at the cave shrine.

His inquiry report is likely to be submitted in a few days to Governor Lt Gen (Retd) SK Sinha, who ordered the probe in his capacity as chairman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB). The report says no artificial Shivlingam was installed at the shrine. The inquiry was ordered by Sinha on June 29.

"It (stalagmite) was all natural, though small in size," the report is said to have concluded on the basis of a personal visit by Gupta to the shrine July 7, his interaction with local people, security officials and a briefing on the SASB's version of the entire issue.

The inquiry report also took into account the opinion of experts, recommended by the shrine board. A delegation of Hindu pilgrims - the Amarnath Yatra Welfare Organisation - had met President APJ Abdul Kalam on August 3 and sought his intervention in the matter.

They urged Kalam to order a CBI probe, or an inquiry by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, to bring out the truth.

First Published: Aug 18, 2006 11:31 IST