With just 16 days of the Amarnath Yatra having got over, 67 deaths have been registered. This has left the managing trustee of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board worried. The deaths have occured mainly due to cardiac arrest. Adding to the woes is the negligent stand taken by the Jammu and Kashmir government that has provided little relief or aid. All that has been mentioned by Chief minister Omar Abdullah is a casual response on the social networking site Twitter.
“It (is) on account of age, poor fitness and lack of any acclimatisation,” tweeted Omar Abdullah.
Opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, while expressing concern for the death of over 60 pilgrims has referred to the state government of Jammu and Kashmir and the Central Ministry as “lethargic”. They have also slammed the curtailing of the yatra’s duration “under pressure from separatists”.
“One of the highest revered and most religious pilgrimage centres of Hindus has become a target of Jammu and Kashmir government’s lethargic approach and a complete lack of facilities and infrastructure resulting in one of the highest number of deaths of pilgrims on their way to the shrine. This is most deplorable,” said BJP spokesperson Tarun Vijay, charging the state government of an apathetic stand regarding the sufferings of the pilgrims.
“They (separatist elements) have succeeded in reducing the duration of the yatra which has resulted in the tragic situation contributing to increasing number of deaths of the pilgrims. In just 17 days, more than 60 pilgrims have died,” he added, referring to the reduction of duration from 60 to 39 days.
Contrary to Omar’s statement, the BJP has emphatically stated that it is not just the old who have lost their lives, but also those in the age group of 22-26, army jawans and “young, acclimatised” local porters as well.
A delegation of BJP leaders will meet Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday. They will also have a discussion with Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra for acction on the issue.
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