Geelani Asks Govt To Stop Amarnath 'road' Construction, Threatens Agitation

Geelani Asks Govt To Stop Amarnath 'road' Construction, Threatens Agitation

18 October 2012
Times of India
M. Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: Separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Thursday reiterated his threat to launch an agitation against what he described as the government's plans to build a macadamized road to the ecologically-fragile Amarnath cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas. Geelani said he would announce the programme for the agitation after Eid-ul-Azha (October 27) if the government does not abandon the plan. 'We have also surveyed the area and found that the government has started the road construction. The construction material has been taken to the site in South Kashmir's restricted forest area,' Geelani told reporters. 'We will make people aware of the long term results of the construction plan that would disturb the area's ecological balance.' Earlier, Geelani had asked the state government to give up the idea of road connectivity to the shrine on September 2. 'Two state ministers insisted that no road construction was planned, but governor N N Vohra and chief minister Omar Abdullah agreed to implement a Supreme Court directive on road connectivity to the cave in a recent meeting,' Geelani said. He reiterated his demand for limiting the Amarnath yatra to 15 days, cap on the number of pilgrims and giving Kashmiri Pandits a lead role in conducting it. The separatist leader sough Shri Amaranthji Shrine Board's abolition and said non-state subjects should be kept away from interfering with the yatra. Geelani insisted that Kashmiris are not against the yatra, but accused the Centre of trying to impose its 'political agenda' through it.