Srinagar: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti accused the Union government of turning Amarnath Yatra into a “political issue” by allowing people to go on the pilgrimage in numbers far more in excess of what was recommended by a committee.
The Peoples Democratic Party leader hit out at the Centre over the Amarnath flash flood which left 15 people dead and over 30 missing, saying the environmental conditions do not permit more than 5,000 pilgrims a day to visit the cave shrine.
Mehbooba, a former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister, said the BJP made the yatra a political issue, instead of letting it stay a religious one.
“The environment does not permit more than 5,000 pilgrims every day, but they sent thousands of people there. The result was that the cloudburst took place,” she said addressing a party function here.
The PDP president alleged that the administration was hiding the actual number of deaths in the incident that took place on Friday.
“We still do not know, because they are not telling the truth. They are saying 15-16 were killed, but several people are missing. The way motorcycles, dead horses are coming out of the debris, and many people are still missing, it seems there is a huge loss, more than what they are saying,” she said.
Mehbooba said the government allowed way more people than were recommended by a committee, only out of stubbornness.
“They kept on saying seven lakh people will come and that it will go on for two months, even as there is a committee report which said not more than 5,000 people should go up in a day, not more than 1 lakh in total, and the yatra should go on for just a month,” she said.
“It seems that they feel J-K does not belong to them, but to someone in the neighbourhood. They do not accept our accession, which was done on an equal level, they think we are someone else’s territory, which they have now taken over,” Mehbooba said.