Hurriyat Conference(G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani on Thursday said that construction of a road to Amarnath cave was in violation of local forest laws. He showed some photographs of the road construction and threatened to launch a massive protest after the forthcoming Eid-Ul-Azha against construction of concrete structures on the yatra route and a metalled road for pilgrims.
In a press conference at his Hyderpora residence, Geelani accused the state government of trying to remain in power by avoiding a confrontation with the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), which manages the cave shrine and the annual Hindu pilgrimage.
“SASB has become a state within state and the local government is helpless before it,” Geelani said.
The hardline separatist leader demanded that the SASB be abolished and the annual Amarnath Yatra (pilgrimage) management handed over to local Kashmiri Pandits. He said the pilgrimage could be limited to a fortnight, instead of its present duration of two months.
Geelani threatened to launch a massive protest after the forthcoming Eid-ul-Azha against the construction of concrete structures and a metalled road for pilgrims to the cave.
He said the state government did not even engage a lawyer to represent it before the Supreme Court, which took suo moto cognisance of the pilgrims’ natural deaths during the yatra this year.