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Amarnath yatra should be restricted to 30 days: Geelani

Srinagar: Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani today said the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir Himalayas should be restricted to 30 days for "safety" of pilgrims and protection of environment. "We advise the government
amarnath yatra should be restricted to 30 days...
PTI May 02, 2015 14:24 IST

Srinagar: Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani today said the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir Himalayas should be restricted to 30 days for "safety" of pilgrims and protection of environment. 

"We advise the government to restrict the yatra to one month like Uttarakhand-Gangotri yatra time table. It will be safe for the pilgrims as well as the environment," Geelani said addressing a public rally in Tral, 35 kms from here, in Pulwama district. 

This year, the yatra to the holy cave shrine will be for 59 days from July 2. 

Geelani also called for a complete ban on sale of liquor in the Valley. 

"We demand closure of all wine shops and complete ban on liquor. We welcome tourists and yatris but we will not allow anybody to harm our centuries-old religious, cultural and moral values and our environment," he said. 

The rally, which was the first in seven years by the separatist leader in the militancy-infested township, witnessed pro-Pakistan sloganeering and waving of Pakistani flags. 

At an April 15 rally too held by Geelani, Pakistani flags were waved by supporters which led to filing of case against him, his close aide Masarat Alam Bhat and others on sedition and other charges. Bhat was arrested the next day and booked under the stringent Public Safety Act a week later. 

Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, S J M Gillani today said the police will examine the matter.

"So far we have no such report (about today's incident). Let us see," he said. 

Terming Hindus, Sikhs and Christians as part of Kashmiri society, Geelani said, "We welcome return of pandits to their homes but separate townships for them is neither good for the Pandits nor the Muslims. 

"Setting up of separate colonies is like dividing our society on religious lines which will harm our age old co-existence and brotherhood," Geelani said and added that the pandits will have no threat from their Muslim brethren. 

"We want to assure you that we will ensure the safety of your lives and honour," Geelani said. 

Geelani also alleged that handing out Permanent resident certificates (PRCs) at school level is a conspiracy to settle West Pakistan refugees through the "back door". 

"We will oppose it tooth and nail," he said. 

He accused Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed of facilitating "anti-Muslim" agenda of RSS in Jammu and Kashmir. 

"Many people say PDP is a lesser evil but this party is more dangerous than any other party. Mufti only holds the chair but the power and authority lies in Nagpur and it is the writ of (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi and (Union Home Minister) Rajnath (Singh) which runs the state," he said.

 

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