New Delhi: BJP on Friday expressed its ire over
imposition of entry fee on vehicles carrying pilgrims to
Vaishno Devi and Amarnath shrines in Jammu and Kashmir and
warned that it will launch an agitation if the "jaziya-like
tax" was not withdrawn.
Party general secretary Vijay Goel said for the first
time an entry fee of Rs 2,000 has been imposed on all buses
carrying pilgrims to any of the two shrines.
"This decision of the Jammu and Kashmir government to
impose fee on lakhs of pilgrims going for darshan of Baba
Amarnath and Mata Vaishnodevi by their private vehicles is
reminiscent of Jaziya imposed during Mughal period on Hindus,"
Rs 2,000 will be charged as entry fee from buses carrying
pilgrims to Mata Vaishnodevi shrine and Rs 2,000 more per day
if they stay for more than seven days.
Similarly, entry fee of Rs 2,000 will be charged from
buses carrying pilgrims of Amarnath Yatra. If people go for
pilgrimage of Amarnath for seven or less days by their own
vehicles, they would be charged Rs 2,000 as entry fee and if
they choose to stay for more than seven days they would be
charged Rs 2,000 extra for each additional day.
"If this entry fee is not withdrawn then the people will
be forced to go on an agitation," Goel warned.
He further alleged that Rs 25,000 was being charged from
those who arrange `langar` (community lunches) during Amarnath
When informed that restrictions had also been imposed on
Haj pilgrims -- liking fixing their number -- Goel said, "We
are not in favour of fixing quota in any pilgrimage."
He called upon the UPA government to direct the Jammu and
Kashmir dispensation to desist from making attempts to
"discriminate" between followers of various religions. He
asked the Omar Abdullah government not to practice such