Monday, June 20, 2011


By: Tahir Muzter
(Note: - Only Kashmir may be or may not be agree with the views expressed in this write up. The views expressed in the column are the writer’s own. Editor: Only Kashmir)

Kashmir suffered terribly in 2008 when Sangh Privar swooped on Kashmir with trishul “. That we remember as “Sheri Amarnath Land Row.” It appears that this year too, the right-wing parties are planning to create trouble in Kashmir by reviving the row over the commencement of the Amaranth Pilgrimage. The date fixed by the state government for commencement of the yatra is June 29, 2011, but the Baba Amarnath Niwas has threatened to start Shri Amarnath Yatra, from June 14. As done in 2008, VHP and other right wing parties have joined the Niwas against the State and its decision making. It is just in the manner, the right wing parties joined Sangrash Simite of Jammu in 2008 , to press its demand of restoration of 800 Kanals land to the Shrine Board illegally. That proved to be a BJP sponsored agitation, disastrous for the Kashmir in many respects.
According to the media reports, VHP has ruled out further talks with the State Government, blaming the Chief Minister for violating the basic fundamental right of the Hindu society, saying that they would not tolerate if some one hurts the religious sentiments of Millions of Hindus living across the globe. These utterances of the rightwing parties are enough to exhibit their mood of rigidity and adamancy to create a 2008 like situation. It may or may no happen ,but with the backdrop of 2008 situation, the people of Kashmir are justified in apprehending any untoward happening, in the name of the yatra. Matter looks serious if better sense does not prevail over the Niwas , VHP to agree to the government fixed programme. The important aspect of the situation is that the Chief Minister, Omar Abdulla said it with determination that the Government would not allow any one to proceed toward s the Amarnath cave shrine before the scheduled date of June 29, and it is being expected that that the Chief Minister will not budge over its rational stand. He will not bow before the right wing dictation and allow government’s writ go to the dogs, as happened in the past.
The fact is that the stand taken by Omar Abdullah has nothing to do with, the Hindu faith or Hindu sentiments, as blamed by the VHP. It is not appeasement of separatists, who presently are busy in their supremacy struggle. Simply it is a Government decision, taken obviously, after taking a holistic view of the requirements of the administration and management of the yatra. For any government the protection of environment is all the more important, which cannot be excluded and should not be ignored. To decide matters in the interest of the State is the duty, which every State is bound to fulfill in the federal set-up of ours in a country like India.
It is really shocking that previous governments of National Conference and the Congress allowed the Amarnath Shrine Board , and the rightwing wing parties , , to make the yatra bigger and bigger with every passing year, thus totally ignoring the protection of ecologically fragile area of Amarnath Yatra area , despite repeated warnings from ecologists and environment experts Thus rulers of our State surrendered a vital and very important right of taking decisions’ in the interest of the State. The reason not a secret .The three former Chief Ministers engaged themselves in negligence, if not in criminal conspiracy in allowing bigger and larger yatra against the warnings of experts and the recommendations of Natish Sengupta Committee with regard to protection of environment, which was formed by the State Government , when in the year 1996 thousands o pilgrims on the way o Amaranth were caught in a snow storm, in which almost 300 pilgrims died.
The present Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah deserve congratulations that, he took a strong stand in rejecting the plea of the Niwas and the right wing parties to start the Amaranth pilgrimages before the date fixed for it. In his unambiguous words he made it c The present Chief Minster is no doubt worth appreciation lear that his government will not allow yatra before June 29,and declared it with full confidence that his Government is ready to foil attempts to start the pilgrimage before that date. ----And the fact is that the day he stops to think in the larger interests of the state, there will be no difference between Omar Abdullalh and” Qazi Afzal of Ganderbal & Co”
The fact is that from the date of formation of Shri Amarnath Board in 2001 to 2008, when Congress-PDP coalitions government transferred or diverted 800 Kanals of forest land to the Board , our rulers are responsible for nourishing a big communal threat to Kashmir (which I am trying to explain in detail in my yet to be publish book on the subject---titled “Kashmir Trampled On”-)-------Yes, Kashmir is facing veiled communal threat allowed to nourish by our own rulers because of their lust for power. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed continued in power comfortably even when the Governor S.K.Sinha asked him to keep mum in respect of fixing the duration of the yatra. VHP utterances now in 2011 is a an indication of veiled threat , even if there is no untoward incident, in this name.
Since Omar Abdullah is not involved in that unfortunate game against the Kashmir interests, therefore we are justified in asking a question to the present Chief Minister in the same breath. The question is from the people , who suffered badly during Amarnath Land Row. Yes, the people of Kashmir are wise enough to foresee troubles in future, in the light of fresh stand of the Niwas, VHP, and other right wing parties in the name of Amarnath Yatra. The statement of VHP national spokes person Surrender Jain, now in 2011 speaks a lot, who went to the extent of telling that ‘ Omar Abdullah himself has sounded the war bungle by allowing not to allow yatra before June 29.
In the background of long and tragic story of 2008 , the pertinent question to the present Chief Minister is--------“ why not to implement recommendations of Natish Sengupta Committee, which envisages limiting number of yaris, to some thousands, fixing quota of number of yatris for each state and limiting the duration of the yatra. It was exactly the same period (May, 08) when BJP Government in Uttrakhand limited the number of pilgrims visiting Ganggotri and Gourmukh to 150 persons per day so as to protect the fragile ecology of the area. ---In Utrakhand Gangotri is one of the most revered Hindu pilgrimage destinations. Restriction of pilgrims was imposed there after alarm bells were sounded over the destruction caused to the area by the rush of pilgrms and the wast they generate
But it is astonishing that Amarnath Yatra in Kashmir is now from 15 days to two months and from 19578 pilgrims in 1980 .to above 4 lakhs in 2008.
From all accounts it is shameful on the part of former rules of Kashmir that they ignored all warnings and suggestions of ecologists and environmental experts. They never tried to implement the recommendation of their own formed Natish Sen Guta Committee on the environmental issue . It is a big tragedy b that environmental protective recommendations of this committee are awaiting implementation in our Jammu & Kasmir for the last 12-13 years now. ALAS
The question to the Chief Minister is--------------would the Chief Minister of the State opt to remain silent on this matter under the pressure of Sangh Parivar as done by his predecessors, which is bound to cause enormous damage to the valley of Kashmir OR will he implement the recommendations of the Natishsengupta Committee, to protect the fragile area coming under the area of Amarnath Yatra, which has the main water sources for the valley in its lap.
The point, is, why is it opposite in Kashmir to what they do or allow at other places with such problem. and recommendations.?
The experts and environmentalists have been telling that the glaciers in our State are receding at a faster rate as compared with the glaciers in other regions. A study on glacier recesion in Kashmir by Muneer Ahamad an environmental expert from the National Geophysical Research Instiute, Hyderbad says the Kalohi Glacier has been receding quit fast in the last decade. The study says “ small glaciers have disappeared and the thickness of the glaciers has reduced by more than two third and most of the springs in the valley have dried up and the remaining are drying up. Receding of glaciers has increased the amount of sediments in Lidder catchments in Pahalgam.Lidder valley forms base of the two main ice fields, the Kalohi and Shesram. And these are the main source of drinking water and irrigation in the valley.
Government of Uttrakhand practiced the right to decide its affairs itself, and limited number of yatris to Ganguotri, why Amarnath yatra has to be kept open ended? The question is [------- why this dual and diabolic attitude of the Sang Parivar and its lackeys towards Kashmir? ------Why to keep Kashmir at the mercy of likings of the Sangh Parivar. After all why? And again---------what the new Chief Minster is going to do in the matter????
Tahir Muzter is a Sr. journalist,


seefs Monday, June 20, 2011  

so the CM needs to think hard before taking any final decision as he alwayz does...

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