Jammu: Ruling out pressure from separatists
for the decision to reduce the duration of annual Amarnath
yatra, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) on Thursday said it was
taken keeping in view the weather conditions evaluated during
the past several years.
To a question about the cut in the duration of the yatra
due to separatists` call and Syed Ali Shah Geelani`s threat,
SASB member Ved Kumari Ghai said these reports are "totally
"Reduction of the duration of the Amarnath yatra was not
taken under any pressure or influence from any quarter. It was
duly taken after taking into consideration the weather
conditions prevailing in the first fortnight of yatra during
the past few years and to avoid inconvenience to pilgrims",
Ghai told reporters here today.
Flanked by another member Justice G D Sharma and Chief
Executive Officer (CEO) of the Board R K Goyal, Ghai said the
decision regarding duration and schedule of the yatra along
Chandanwari and Baltal routes was taken after extensive
discussions at a meeting on February 18.
The meeting took into consideration all related factors
which are important for ensuring safe and smooth conduct of
the pilgrimage to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath at an
altitude of 13,500 feet in unpredictable weather conditions,
She said the yatra was held for 19 days in 1995, 15 days
in 1996, 32 days in 1997, 38 days in 1998, 40 days in 1999, 30
days in 2000, 32 days in 2001 before the formation of Board.
Replying to the question of threat given by community
kitchen people to stop organizing community kitchens for yatra
if it is prolonged for two months, Ghai said "they cannot
dictate us. It is for us to decide. They are nobody to decide
the Board`s affairs".
She said the yatra would start on June 29 and will
conclude on August 13.