Srinagar: Expressing grief over Uttarakhand tragedy, moderate Hurriyat Conference on Friday demanded restricting Amarnath Yatra to an earlier schedule to safeguard the fragile environment of Himalayas.
"It is unfortunate that the extension of Amarnath Yatra was being viewed in the context of politics instead of looking at the damage it causes to the environment," Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said in a statement here.
Amarnath Yatra was extended in 2006 from the earlier 30-day duration, drawing criticism from separatists and environmentalists who demanded revision of the decision in view of the damage caused to environment due heavy rush of pilgrims.
"The people of Kashmir have been demanding limiting the Yatra so that possible negative impact on the fragile environment is avoided," Mirwaiz said.
The annual pilgrimage to the 3,880m high holy cave shrine began from the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal today and is scheduled to end on August 21.
Terming the loss of lives in Uttarakhand as a "human tragedy", Mirwaiz said it is a cause of serious concern for the people of Jammu and Kashmir as the state government has no concrete policy to safeguard the environment.