Srinagar, Jun 29: Apni Party President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Wednesday observed that the annual Amarnath Yatra should not be hyped in a manner that it is projected as an unusual affair in and outside Jammu and Kashmir.
According to a statement, Bukhari expressed his opinion in a meeting of heads of all Political Parties that was called by the Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha at Rajbhavan here. “Kashmir is among a few places in the world which is known for its rich culture and diversity of faiths. Despite all odds, this place has been able to retain its cultural diversity,” Bukhari remarked.
He said J&K’s people belonging to different religions have successfully coexisted which all along its history has incremented its serenity and heritage. “Kashmir’s pluralistic ethos is all encompassing and Amarnath Yatra is part and parcel of the core of that historically significant value system,” Bukhari opined.
He said Muslims in Kashmir have always extended help in making administrative arrangements for Amarnath pilgrims making their Yatra a symbol of communal harmony and an example of Kashmir’s rich and diverse cultural and religious ethos.
“Muslims have pitched in with full heart as porters and helpers on the dangerous climb enroute to the holy cave, supporting Yatris in their effort to touch something that has metaphysical divinity for them,” he added.
Bukhari urged the government not to propagate this annual religious affair of J&K as an unusual activity that is like taking place for the first time in its history. “Nobody is averse to making foolproof security and other administrative arrangements for a hassle free journey of the pilgrims. But this Yatra should not be tackled in a way that has the potential to pitch one community against another,” he remarked.
He also appealed to the government to take care of environmental concerns in order to safeguard the delicate ecosystem of the Himalayas. “Being a monumental exercise Yatra needs infrastructure and other prerequisites but there is a dire need to take precautionary measures to address the concerns of environmentalists of the country,” Bukhari observed.
He also put a word of caution for belittling the sanctity of this religious affair by analyzing it in terms of an economic activity. “The majority community in Kashmir is fully aware of the embedded economic dividends of such huge annual pilgrimage tourism. The administration needs to instill a sense of togetherness among all communities living enroute to the Holy cave. The orders to bar the movement of locals in that area are unwarranted and need to be rescinded,” he urged during the meeting.
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