VHP for reconstitution of Amarnath Shrine Board

Jammu: Alleging that the Jammu and Kashmir government and the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board failed to conduct the annual Amarnath pilgrimage smoothly, VHP on Monday demanded reconstitution of the shrine board.

"The state government and Shri Amarnath Shrine Board have failed to conduct the Amarnath yatra smoothly. Pilgrims were stopped for hours without any provision for food or shelter and were also lathicharged and harassed during the past 24 hours," VHP state chief Rama Kant Dubey told reporters here.

"The VHP demands that the board be reconstituted by initiating new and hard working members who are engaged in good social work in Jammu and Kashmir," he said.

Dubey claimed that the devotees, including women and children, were forced to sleep on roads without food and shelter as police stopped their vehicles at several places on the highway for hours.

"We appeal to the people of Jammu to lend support in providing shelter and food to the yatris," the VHP state chief said.

He said the board should have taken into consideration the increased footfall this year due to media exposure and holiday season and taken necessary measures to avoid the situation that led to traffic jams, chaos and breakdown of the administrative machinery.

There was a huge influx of around 50,000 pilgrims after the yatra was suspended on July 2 due to bad weather, causing heavy rush at the Amarnath cave, Baltal and Pahalgam routes.

As result of the rush, police stopped Amarnath-bound vehicles from Lakhampur, Kathua, Samba, Nagrota, Patnitop and Ramban which caused heavy traffic jams.