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JAMMU: National Conference Provincial President Mr Devender Singh Rana on Thursday decried the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directive on declaring route to Shri Amarnathji Cave Shrine on Kashmir Himalyas as ‘silent zone’, describing it infringement of religious rights. “We respect judicial processes and have regard for NGT but expect as well that there should be no interference in the matters of faith”, Mr Rana said at an impromptu press conference at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan here this afternoon.

 

Mr Rana said the sentiments of a section of society have been hurt by this unjust directive which comes weeks after the NGT directive on reducing the number of pilgrims to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine. “We fail to reconcile with one after another directive in recent weeks on the two important pilgrimages of Jammu and Kashmir”, he said and made a strong plea to Governor Mr N N Vohra, who is also Chairperson of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board to take up the issue with the NGT for corrective measures. He said the sensitive religious matters should be left to bodies concerned and every effort must be made to ensure freedom of practicing religion.

The Provincial President described the pilgrimages to Shri Amarnathji and Shri Mata Vaishno Deviji in Jammu and Kashmir highly sensitive and sacrosanct for the vast mass of Hindus across the country and hoped that NGT will reconsider and rescind its decision. “Let the Shrine Boards ensure ecology of yatra related areas”, he suggested.

To a question about BJP’s silence over this important issue,  Mr Rana said though the answer lies with the party, which is ruling the Centre and partnering the government in the state, yet the ‘silence’ is intriguing. He said the directive of not chanting ‘Bum Bum Bole’ on the route to Shri Amarnathji Shrine has not gone well with the devout. Ironically, he replied to the repeated queries over the issue, “The party which raised its political edifice in Jammu on ‘Bum Bum Bole’ slogan in 2008, is now maintaining silence over the NGT directive”.

He replied in affirmative to a reporter’s question that BJP’s silence over the declaration of Shri Amarnathji Shrine as ‘silent zone’ is its compulsion to remain glued to power. Mr Rana also took the BJP head on for ignoring the NGT directive on reducing the number of pilgrimage to Shri Mata Vaishno Deviji Shrine on Trikuta Hills despite being in the government. He asked the BJP to come clear and take a position on NGT directives.

 

He said in a secular country like India, an atmosphere is needed to be created wherein all the religions flourish in harmony. “There has to be inter-religious harmony and every organization should desist from infringing upon the matters of faith”, he added. Prominent among those present in the press conference included State Vice President Thakur Kashmira Singh, senior leader Mr T S Wazir, Provincial Secretary Sheikh Bashir Ahmed, Provincial Vice Presidents Mr Jugal Mahajan, Mr Gurdeep Singh Sasan, Choudhry Haroon and Mr Anil Dhar, Co-Chairman OBC Cell Mr Abdul Gani Teli, District President Mr Dharamveer Singh Jamwal besides Mr S S Bunty, Mrs Dilshad Malik, Ch Riyaz Haqla, Mr G H Malik, Mr Rohit Bali, Mr Som Raj Taroch and others.