Geelani Plans cave Trip, On Foot

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 KL Desk

SRINAGAR,

October 21

With turning down Omar Abdullah’s offer of chopper ride to Amarnath Cave shrine to Syed Ali Geelani, the Hurriyat Conference (G) on Sunday emailed Omar all photographs of the site and demanded an explanation.

“We have emailed to the CM the photographs of the construction material dumped at the site. If he has a bit of moral courage left in him, he shall either refute the photographs or give public an explanation,” the conglomerate said in a press statement issued here.

Not only the Hurriyat (G) has demanded an explanation from Omar Abdullah, but also has dared him to set free the veteran separatist, who is under house arrest most of the time, to visit the area.

“Geelani does not need to fly in the state’s choppers, which, however, are not a personal property of the CM…Let him (CM) release Geelani Sahab from under house arrest, he (Geelani) will go the site on his own and, if need be, take people with him to check the factual position,” it said.

The conglomerate reasserted that the photographs with them were clicked during the ground survey.

“It is almost impossible to notice the construction material and structures (at the site) in an aerial survey…,” it said.

Geelani had, in a press conference on Thursday, accused the state government of having started the work on road widening and other infrastructure building at the Amarnath Cave Shrine. He had displayed to press the pictures of the construction work going on at the site; of the stocked construction material; and of the concrete ‘residential’ structures that have come up in the ecologically fragile area. The photographs were said to have been clicked by conglomerate’s survey team that was sent to the site secretly for inspection.

And reacting to the accusations yesterday, the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah , had challenged Geelani to conduct an aerial survey of Pahalgam area to prove his allegations about the road construction, and ridiculed what termed as “falsehood being circulated in this regard to disturb peace.” He had offered to keep two helicopters of the state at his disposal to fly over Pahalgam-Amarnath track to have a complete aerial view of the mountains and the track.

Amaranth pilgrimage came under debate in 2008 when the then PDP-Congress coalition was accused of transferring the forest land to the Shrine Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB)—the body for management of the Amaranth pilgrimage. The year saw massive mass-protests that eventually toppled the Ghulam Nabi Azad led coalition government.

The Hurriyat (G) has been demanding dissolution of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) and the handing over of the control of the Yatra to Kashmiri Pandits.

It criticized the CM for staying silent over the demand. The CM, it said, has tried to mislead people by talking only about the macadamized road and staying silent over other issues.

“We have also demanded dissolution of SASB, which is under direct control of the Governor and is not answerable to the state government. The CM has not said anything about it,” it said, and asked the CM, “Why has the material been dumped at the site? Whom are the residential structures being built for?”

The conglomerate said the Governor of the state was as powerful as any viceroy under British.

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A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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