NC leader meets Guv, raises concern over NGT directives on pilgrimages

JAMMU: Senior National Conference (NC) leader Devender Singh Rana today met Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra and voiced concern about “unwarranted interference” of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) into the pilgrimage to holy cave shrines of Amarnath and Vaishno Devi.
Rana, the provincial president of the main opposition party, met the Governor at the Raj Bhavan and voiced serious concern about recent reports regarding the proposal of varied restrictions to be imposed on the conduct of the two pilgrimages in the state, including on the rituals in the sanctum sanctorum, an official spokesman said.
The spokesman said the NC leader cautioned about the likely consequences “if there was any disturbance of the centuries old traditions”.
The Governor observed that both the shrine boards would consider the issues under reference and take the required action.
Vohra urged Rana to continue sustained efforts for promoting the growth and the welfare of the people of the state, the spokesman said.
After meeting the Governor, Rana said he took strong exception to “unwarranted interference” of the NGT into matters of faith and sought the intervention of the Governor in getting the “illogical directives” on the pilgrimages of Amarnath and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi revoked.
Rana said he expressed gratitude to the Governor, who is also the chairman of the two shrine boards, for taking note of the massive concern shown by various socio-political organisations, including the NC, and convening the board meeting early next month to review the developments taking place in the wake of NGT directives.
“One after another directive over the conduct of these pilgrimages is intriguing. The subsequent flip-flop and clarifications offered by the NGT make the developments mysterious,” he said, adding that it was high time the shrine boards were “reined in”.
He said the boards have to take due care of religious concerns attached to these shrines and that restrictions should be imposed on the NGT so as to counter the ill-effects of its “illogical directives”.
Rana apprehended that the directives would lead to a reduction in the number of pilgrims to Mata Vaishno Devi and would hurt the economy, saying it will also be colossal loss to religious pilgrims in the region.

He wondered over the directive about maintaining silence before the holy Shivlingam in the cave sanctum sanctorum, saying it betrays logic as outpouring of mantras during the course of darshan is natural manifestation of sentiments and therefore “the mouths cannot be ordered to be shut or stitched”.
However, the NGT had clarified regarding the decision that it had not imposed any restriction including on chanting of mantras and singing of bhajans inside the Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas.
It said that the only restriction imposed was that any devotee or any individual should maintain silence while standing in front of the “Amarnath Ji Maha Shivling”, a natural formation in the cave.

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