A BJP delegation will meet Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today, to voice concern over the increased deaths of Amarnath pilgrims and the lack of amenities for them.
The BJP has also sought the intervention of the union tourism Minister in providing better facilities to Amarnath pilgrims by “taking a fair view”, alleging that “the state government has mishandled the affairs”.
“The Supreme Court has expressed shock over the increasing number of deaths of Amarnath yatris. BJP has repeatedly pointed out that the reduction of the annual yatra period from three months to 39 days has resulted in the large number of deaths as the number of pilgrims has been rising every year,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
A BJP delegation will meet the Union Home Minister tomorrow, Sitharaman said, adding the party has not got an appointment with the state Governor yet.
Accusing the state government of not initiating steps to improve the facilities for pilgrims, she said, “By adopting such inefficient ways, pilgrims are being discouraged from coming…not providing facilities gives an impression that you are discouraging pilgrims from coming to Jammu and Kashmir.”
She said despite promises of providing better facilities and infrastructure for pilgrims, the Jammu and Kashmir governnment has not done anything, nor has it provided adequate medical facilities.
Sitharaman said even though the Amarnath pilgrimage is beneficial for local economy, the state government has not understood its cultural and economic significance. “On the one hand the Central government is saying it is promoting religious tourism in the country, while on the other there is no facility for the Amarnath Yatra,” Sitharaman said.
A total of 97 yatris have died since the commencement of the annual pilgrimage to holy Amarnath cave shrine, situated at 13,500 feet, in south Kashmir Himalayas since 25 June.
Expressing “shock” over the growing number of deaths, the Supreme Court asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to immediately deploy medical aid teams for ‘yatris’.