Dissolve Shrine Board, handover Amarnath Yatra arrangements to local Pandits: Syed Ali Geelani asks Govt

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Srinagar: Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani Saturday asked state government to disband Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) and Muslim Wakf Board immediately falling which they would launch a massive agitation against it.
Addressing a press conference at his Hyderpora residence, Geelani said, “If government control on affairs of Amarnath yatra and Muslim shrines isn’t ended soon, we will launch a massive struggle against it.”
However, the veteran separatist leader said that they weren’t against holding of Amarnath yatra “as it has been happening for the last 145 years.”
“But now government of India and fanatic Hindu organisations are using the yatra as a launch pad to instigate communal disharmony,” Geelani claimed.
Upping his ante for environmental protection, Geelani said that if the state government undertakes any constructions in eco-fragile areas in and around the Amarnath Cave “it has the potential of snowballing into major trouble.”
“Supreme Court of India has expressed concern over 90 deaths which occurred during this year’s yatra. At a place where more than six lakh people will visit, 90 deaths are expected to happen. But due to rising number of yatries the environment is getting disturbed,” he claimed.
Geelani said that principles of conservation for environment as applied to the pilgrimage to Gangotri be applied to the pilgrimage to Amarnath shrine.
Expressing his concern over “interference” of state government over the affairs of Muslim shrines in Kashmir, the Hurriyat (G) chairman said, “Hindu governor is controlling Amarnath yatra while Muslim shrines and masjids are being controlled by the chief minister. If government control on these institutions isn’t ended soon, we will launch a massive agitation,” he warned.
Calling upon people to observe a complete shutdown on Tuesday, September 4, Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman Syed Ali Geelani Saturday demanded disbanding of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board and the Muslim Wakf Board by liberating them from the government control. He also demanded that the time period and the number of pilgrims visiting the shrine should be limited.
“The Shrine board should be soon dissolved and the duty of running smooth yatra should be given to local Pandits who had performed it in past as well,” said Geelani.
While criticizing the functioning of the Muslim Wakf Board he said it was unfortunate for Kashmiri’s that every successive regime tries to dominate the Wakf Board for their personal gains. “Wakf property should be used for religious things like marrying poor and orphan girls. It should come in transparent hands and the government should not control its functioning,” he said.
Geelani said the transfer back of the 800 kanals of Amarnath land has not been completed as the case is still in the court.
“The 800 canal Amarnath land is yet to be given back. It is presently under stay order in court and Board is using it for its own purpose. We want it back before we come on roads,” Geelani said, adding, when Indian forces raped thousands of women and killed lakhs of innocents, its Supreme Court was silent then.
Geelani accused India of being a fascist country. “On one side India talks high about its democratic nature but in reality its fascist and undemocratic face can be seen in Kashmir”.
About his continuous house detention, Geelani flayed the National Conference (NC) led coalition government calling it a puppet government which is powerless and runs at the dictations of New Delhi.
However, the octogenarian leader clarified that Kashmiries were never against the Yatra and India was giving it a political and communal colour only to continue its political, cultural and military invasion on Kashmir.
Geelani said yatra was started in 1867 and was smoothly running with Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits extending every kind of help, but one fails to understand why shrine board was created.
“It is the National Conference during the tenure of Farooq Abdullah that created shrine board. This board works like East India Company to strengthen Indian occupation on Kashmir,” said Geelani.
Geelani lamented that the real representatives of Kashmir are not being allowed to meet people and their movement restricted. “People and media is our only hope and bridge to reach our voice to the oppressed people”, he said.
He appealed the journalist community to give voice to the sufferings of people. KNS

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