Limit the period of Yatra, stop religious terrorism: Swami Agnivesh

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Srinagar, Feb 17: Coming down heavily on Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) for reverting the Amarnath Yatra virtually back to its unconscionably-extended duration of 55 days with the help of State Government, Social activist and Civil Society member, Swami Agnivesh Saturday advised Hindu pilgrims not to visit Amarnath Cave in such a large number on the behest of “Hindu extremist organization”.
Terming the execution of Afzal Guru as a “big blot” on Indian democracy, Swami said that the “sorry state of affairs can be gauged by this fact that even Prime Minister of India expressed displeasure on the working of Home Ministry over this grave matter”. “Hindu zealots push hundreds of thousands of pilgrims into Kashmir to give an impression to Kashmir people that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Amarnath Yatra has given flip to religious hysteria and we call it religious terrorism,” Swami told Srinagar based news gathering agency CNS and added that there are apprehensions that Kashmir youth may pick up guns once again against “state terrorism”.
The Hindu scholar said Amarnath Yatra is a handy tool for SASB and “Hindu extremists to exploit the sentiments of millions of Hindus across the country”. “How come it is possible that by visiting the Amarnath Cave, one could become pure? Pilgrims are being flocked to Cave to die and we all know last year, so many people lost their lives there. I appeal pilgrims to understand the designs of Hindu zealots who propagate this Yatra in such a big way that every Indian gets attracted towards it,” Agnivesh said and added that it is better for Hindus to die in their homes instead of in the mountains of Amarnath.
He said that state of Jammu and Kashmir is not concerned about the environmental hazards and is giving free hand to SASB for unknown reasons. “When Uthrakhand government can limit the duration and number of pilgrims then what is the problem in Jammu and Kashmir. The reality is that Cave of Lord Shiva is located in sensitive Kashmir and it has become a point of prestige for Hindu extremists and by pushing hundreds of thousands of yatri’s to Kashmir, they not only give flip to religious terrorism but these groups like Bhartiya Janta Party, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Kranti sena and others send a message to Kashmiri people that they are subservient to India,” Agnivesh said.
Criticizing Hindu extremists for sowing the seeds of hatred and animosity between Hindu’s and Kashmiri Muslims, Swami Agnivesh said that time has come to limit the duration of Yatra so that religious terrorism could be curbed.
Blaming Central Government for not handling the sensitive issue of Afzal in an appropriate manner, Swami said that his secret execution could have a long term impact on overall situation in Kashmir. “I as a Civil Society member fail to understand why secrecy was maintained in Guru’s case. It’s irony that his wife or mother was not informed and the displeasure expressed by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh amply shows the sorry state of affairs,” he said and added that State Government went a step ahead by imposing restrictions and curfew for seven consecutive days which shows how weak and scared the government of Jammu and Kashmir is.

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