BJP seeks extension in Amarnath Yatra duration

BJP on Wednesday raised concerns over curtailing the duration of Amarnath Yatra.

Updated: May 16, 2012, 15:39 PM IST

New Delhi: Raising concerns over curtailing the duration of Amarnath Yatra, BJP on Wednesday urged the government to restore its original four-month period to enable more and more pilgrims to take part in the pilgrimage.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said neither pilgrims nor local Kashmiris are in favour of bringing down the number of Yatris, which is being reduced every year.

His colleagues demanded a reply from the government on the issue. However, the demand did not elicit any response from the government even as BJP members were on their feet seeking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s response, who was present.

As there was no word either from the Prime Minister or any of his Cabinet colleagues to the demand, BJP member Najma Heptulla asked the Chair, "If the LoP has brought to the notice of the House a very important issue, don`t you think that the Leader of the House (Prime Minister) should respond to it?"

As the uproar continued over the demand, PJ Kurien, who was in the Chair, said, "I cannot direct the government. But, I have no objection if government wishes to respond."

Raising the issue, Jaitley earlier said he wished to draw the attention of the government to a "systematic pattern" in last five years to reduce the Yatra period.

He said a very large number of pilgrims undertake this Yatra and as many as eight lakh Yatris had reached the shrine last year.