BJP slams entry fee on Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir

Last Updated: Fri, Jun 18, 2010 13:00 hrs

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday criticised the Jammu and Kashmir government for its decision to charge entry fee of Rs.2,000 per vehicle to the Amarnath and Vaishnodevi temples.

'The Jammu and Kashmir government's decision to impose fees on lakhs of pilgrims going for 'darshan' (visit) of Amarnath and Mata Vaishnodevi by their private vehicles is reminiscent of 'jaziya' (tax) imposed during Mughal period that was forcefully imposed on Hindu pilgrims to torture them,' BJP national general secretary Vijay Goel told reporters here.

The state government had issued a notification under Jammu-Kashmir Motor Vehicle Taxation Act 1957 to charge Rs.2,000 as entry fee valid for seven days. The same amount will be charged per day if the stay extends more than seven days.

'The Jammu and Kashmir government is playing with the sentiments of Hindu pilgrims. Instead of providing better amenities to the pilgrims the state government is making attempts to disturb the 'teerth yatra' (pilgrimage).'

He demanded that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ask the Jammu and Kashmir government to desist from practising 'such shameful politics'.