VHP activists protest in Jammu over shortened duration of Amarnath pilgrimage

Last Updated: Tue, Jun 05, 2012 12:10 hrs

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) protested on Tuesday in Jammu against the state government's decision of curtailing the period of the annual Amarnath pilgrimage.

Activists shouted slogans against the state government's decision to start the pilgrimage on June 25.

They lashed out at the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), headed by Governor N.N.Vohra, for curtailing the duration of pilgrimage to 39 days, which was 60 days in 2009.

The protesters also demanded the return of land to the Amarnath shrine board.

National VHP Spokesperson Surender Jain threatened to intensify their agitation and launch a nation-wide movement against the decision of the provincial government.

"The issue is to declare the whole area as holy so that in the near future such incidents do not take place. There is need to set up a system under which no one dares to illegally try to occupy the land and they should not try to mess with the duration of the pilgrimage. We are taking this fight forward to New Delhi. On our route there will be speeches, gatherings and we will meet the press. And following this we will go to Rashtrapati Bhawan day after tomorrow. We will meet the Prime Minster and Interior Minister. We have already asked for their time but if they do not it is their wish. We will definitely reach out to them and we will launch a nation-wide movement, which will force the governor to quit and change the face of the board. Nobody will then have courage to upset the Yatra," said Jain.

Jain also said that a delegation of Hindu religious leaders would meet the President and Home Minister to discuss the issue.

The protesters also burnt Vohra's effigy after taking out his mock funeral procession.

Thousands of pilgrims undertake this journey to the shrine cave of Shivlinga of ice. The cave of the Lord Shiva shrine is located at a snow-capped mountainous peak of the Himalayas.

This pilgrimage takes place between June and August.

Such is the faith of the devout Hindus that despite hostile environs, and inclement weather, records are broken year after year as far as the number of pilgrims visiting the shrine.(ANI)

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