'Depoliticize Pilgrimage'

'Depoliticize Pilgrimage'

1 November 2012
Greater Kashmir


Srinagar: Expressing concern over the ‘growing petty politics’ on Amarnath pilgrimage, the CPI (M) State Secretary and MLA Kulgam MY Tarigami Thursday said the annual Yatra must be conducted keeping in view the standards set in the environmental policy of the country. In a statement issued here today, Tarigami said: “I appeal the environmentalists to come forward to suggest how to address their concerns. The collection and the disposal of solid waste during Yatra period is a problem area which needs to be focused on. Similarly, measures can be suggested by the environmental experts for the protection and conservation of our fragile environment in the Himalayan region.” Taking dig at the vested interests raking up unfounded construction issues on way to Amarnath Shrine, Tarigami said the whole issue needs to be de-politicized in the best interests of public. “These unfounded issues later on snowball into a political controversy thus harming the interests of people who have already suffered much during the last two decades of the conflict,” Tarigami observed. While sharing the concern to ensure good health and well-being of the pilgrims, Tarigami said that he believes Yatra must be conducted in accordance with the environmental and forest policy of the state which caters to the needs and facilities to be provided to the pilgrims. “I expect the government to take care of the fragile environment in the Amarnath Cave. Just like the principles of conservation of environment and administrative facilitation in the Gangotri pilgrimage and the larger conservation plans for the Ganga River are applied to the pilgrimage, we expect the state government to apply the similar standards in pilgrimage to Amarnath shrine. Any politicization of this pilgrimage by any section of the society could be fraught with serious consequences,” Tarigami remarked. The MLA Kulgam advised the government to get a group of environmental experts both within and outside the state to study the impact of the unregulated pilgrim rush on the ecology of the Amarnath area and recommend measures to be taken to regulate the same keeping in view the environmental concerns of the people.