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BJP raps govt on Amarnath Yatra decision

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday said the Jammu and Kashmir government's decision to stop Hindu religious groups from starting the annual Amarnath pilgrimage from 3 June instead of the official date of 25 June was politically motivated.

'The government appears to be vitiating the atmosphere and instigating unrest on the eve of Amarnath Yatra by holding out threats of police action against the pilgrims,' said Jitendra Singh, chief spokesman of the BJP.

'The National Conference (NC)-led government is deliberately influencing the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board to instigate trouble in the Jammu region in the name of yatra duration in a bid to appease the separatist constituency in the Kashmir Valley as a part of NC's competitive policies with the People's Democratic Party (PDP),' Singh alleged.

The Jammu and Kashmir government Tuesday decided to stop the activists of the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) at Lakhanpur (the gateway of Jammu and Kashmir). The two organisations had announced that they would send their activists for the Amarnath pilgrimage 3 June, as they want the pilgrimage to last for two months. The pilgrimage concludes 2 August, the full moon day of the Hindu month of 'Shravan', officials said.

The authorities decided that senior police officers would take up the issue with Punjab Police to stop activists of the VHP, Bajrang Dal and other affiliated organisations at Madhopur on the Jammu-Punjab border to ensure that peace was not breached here.

The meeting was chaired by Director General of Police (DGP) Kuldeep Khoda, and was attended by top brass of para-military forces. These included the Border Security Force (BSF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Sashatra Seema Bal (SSB), Jammu Police, CID, and deputy inspector general and senior superintendents of police of all districts from where the pilgrimage would pass.
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