Jammu: The Vishav Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Wednesday demanded the commencement of the annual Amarnath yatra from `Jyeshth Purnima` falling on June 23.
A 55-day yatra to Amarnath shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas will begin from June 28 and conclude on Raksha Bandhan on August 21.
"As regards the start of Amarntath yatra, VHP has demanded that the yatra must start on the day of `Jyeshth Purnima` falling on 23rd June to the day of `Rakshabandhan` festival and `Pratham darshan` and puja should be performed in the holy cave only", VHP state president Ramakant Dubey told reporters.
The Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) would arrange a special pooja on the day of `Jyesth Purnima`, on June 23 at the Holy cave or any other suitable location in the Yatra area to invoke the blessings of Lord Shiva for the smooth and safe conduct of the pilgrimage.
A decision about the yatra date and its duration was taken at a meeting of SASB chaired by Jammu Kashmir Governor, N N Vohra, at New Delhi on January 31, 2013.
Dubey said that it is very astonishing that till date the Shrine board has not made public the number of yatries (pilgrims) registered so far this year.
The shrine board and the high power committee should make all possible efforts to invite maximum number of yatries and the number should not decrease as compared to last year, he said.
Lashing out at Swami Agneevesh for his earlier statement about checking inflow of the number of pilgrims in order to save environment as yatra was destroying the fragile ecology, Dubey said that repeated vague, baseless and unfounded statements of so called Swami Agneevesh clearly speaks that he is mad and is an agent of separatists and foreign agencies and is working under a planned strategy.
Swami Agnivesh had said that the environment of Kashmir on the onset of Amarnath yatra faces the brunt of unchecked flow of yatris and has become a threat to environment and its impact is hazardous and accordingly duration and number of yatris should be curtailed.