Jazia on Amarnath yatra: furthering the Islamic cause
by Nancy Kaul on 21 May 2010 25 Comments

The dark ages of Islamic domination seem to be slowly seeping back into independent India. First was the Kashmiri Muslim hegemony of not allowing land and infrastructure for Hindu yatris; and now Jazia has been levied on the pilgrims and langars for the revered Amarnath Yatra.


In their appeasement of Muslims, the Omar Abdullah Government and Governor N.N. Vohra-led Sri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), have fallen on the repressive Mughal policy of imposing Jazia (religious tax) on Hindus in their very own country.


The abode of Lord Shiva, Amriteswara tirtha, is a pilgrimage precious to Hindus; the Shiva lingam manifests itself in the holy cave of Sri Amarnathji. The yatra to Sri Amarnath is as old as the history of Kashmir and Neelmat Purana bears testimony to this. Rishi Kashyap, Adi Sankara, Vivekananda and the common Hindu find peace and solace in the darshan of the Holy Lingam; the soul is entrenched in the divine manifestation.


A levy of Rs 15/- from each yatri (pilgrim) for registration was not considered sufficient by the authorities, so they imposed a charge of Rs 2,800/- per day (earlier Rs 300/day) on the buses and trucks, and Rs 2,300/- on light vehicles, carrying food supplies and pilgrims, in addition to the toll tax on entering the State of Jammu & Kashmir at Lakhanpur. The State Government has not stopped at this, and has further sponsored the radicalisation process by asking the Langar committees, which constitute religious and social organisation, to deposit a non-refundable sum of Rs 25,000/-! At the same time, the area on which the langars are to run has been considerably reduced.


The proponents of Islam have thus imposed religious tax on Hindu yatris, whereas they spend thousands of lakhs of rupees on Muslims in terms of Urs and Haj.


Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in one breath does away with the tax on houseboat owners and hoteliers in Kashmir, and on the other hand imposes Jazia on Hindus; they will have to pay even for placing their shoes in the racks near the cave and toll on entering the State. These measures reek of an illogical bent towards Islamic talibanisation and immense hatred channelled at slighting the religious sentiments of the Hindus.


Sri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) is in charge of the yatra and the money that the devotees offer. The Board has yet to come clean on how the money is used. The money accumulated should have been used for infrastructure development and yatri comfort; however, typically this money donated by Hindus is being diverted towards the amusement and entertainment of Kashmiri Muslims. In 2006, the then Governor Lt Gen (retd) S.K. Sinha launched a Sufi festival (SASB along with ICCR) in Srinagar on the banks of the Dal Lake, where artistes from Pakistan apart from others participated, with the money of Sri Amarnath Shrine Board! Lakhs was spent and since then ever year this sham of Sufism is conducted from the money of the devotees of Amarnath ji.


Governor Vohra has increased the paradigm of this entertainment sham and it continues. The role of Shri Vohra during the Amarnath Yatra and his overtures to Muslims are neither reformed nor new. His closeness to the People’s Democratic Party is no secret, and along with the Kashmiri Muslims he was largely responsible for the atrocities heaped on the nationalistic Jammu population when they stood up for the Yatra in 2008.


As Chairman of the SASB, N.N. Vohra wanted Muslims as Board members, a move which would have meant direct Muslim interference in a Hindu shrine, whereas no moves to include Hindus in Wakf Boards are ever conceived. Yet the present committee of six members has so far maintained silence over this issue.


The present Chief Minister, who has yet to prove his acumen, has rushed to play to the separatist gallery. His by now famous speech in Parliament, “I am a Muslim and I am an Indian…” and, “not even an inch of land will be given,” with reference to the Amarnath agitation of Jammu cannot be wished away.


Omar Abdullah is so emotionally overwrought for the gun-totting terrorists and their life in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, where they went for terror training to unleash violence in Jammu & Kashmir and the rest of India, that he wants the Centre not to ask them to surrender, but to give them an honourable return. He wants the Central Government to clear four crossover points for them to return to India with their families. Such magnanimity for one group, such pettiness for another community!


The terror network that these terrorism-trained Kashmiri Muslims are part of in PoK and Pakistan is still intact; so is the motive to unleash terror on India through overt and covert means and thousand cuts. Pakistan has not resiled from its agenda of terrorism against India, nor has Lashkar-e-Toiba and many such terror factories. In a recent meeting organized by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (new name of the banned LeT) in Lahore, it demanded that the government of Pakistan should either stop India from building dams on rivers flowing into Pakistan or give a ‘free hand’ to the ‘Kashmiri mujahideen’ (read terrorists) to deal with the issue. After the meeting a joint declaration was issued by the JuD which asked the Pakistan government to keep open the option of using force to protect its water resources if India does not stop work on projects on rivers flowing into the country.


The head of JuD's political affairs wing, Abdur Rehman Makki, and the group's Pakistan Water Movement convener, Hafiz Safullah Mansoor, presided over the meet. It included representatives of major political parties including the Pakistan Peoples Party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Jamaat-e-Islami and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan's Tehrik-e-Insaaf.


Interestingly, Omar Abdullah wants the Indian State to give amnesty to terrorists who could still be part of this terror network. The terror network with the active help of Pakistan is also taking advantage of the trade and bus routes between Kashmir and POK. Recently, two PoK citizens were sent to judicial lock-up for smuggling satellite phones for a commander and working for militants (read terrorists). One of them had reached Poonch via the weekly Poonch-Rawlakote bus service, while the other was arrested in Mendhar for travelling via the Wagah border.


Another ISI agent managed to return to PoK after spending a month in Mendhar; his involvement surfaced only after he had gone back. Earlier, few traders on Uri-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawlakote route were found working for militants/terrorists by providing hawala money which was being used to fund militancy and terrorism. Sources confirm that the intelligence agencies have issued an alert on this front again.


As if this was not enough, Omar Abdullah has further rushed to the rescue of terrorist Afzal Guru, who has been sentenced to death by the Supreme Court for masterminding the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001. He wants Afzal Guru to be treated like other criminals. A person holding the office of Chief Minister should know better, for Afzal Guru is no criminal but a terrorist. This love for a terrorist is followed by another MLA of Kashmir.


Abdul Rashid, MLA from Langate, attended the funeral prayers of three terrorists killed in a recent encounter with security forces in Handwara area of the frontier Kupwara district. A fortnight ago, the Army launched Operation Thunder Strike, to neutralize terrorists. The MLA in his speech in Shazipora grounds wanted the government to talk to armed terrorists. “The key of peace lies with militants, and there should be direct negotiations with them for they have rendered sacrifices,” he said.


This appalling love for Islamic terrorists and Jazia for Hindu Yatris raises vital questions about the efforts of Pakistan, terror organisations, and the likes of Omar, Mufti, Rashid and others. The effort to Talibanise Indian Muslim society is getting a fillip by such overt and covert actions.


It will be pertinent to watch what the UPA chairperson will do about this tax on Amarnath, as it was her mother-in-law and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who desired the concrete flight of stairs to be made in the 1970s; Indira ji’s love for Shiva and Shakti is well known. Her interpretation of Kashmir was not Islam, but the thousands of years of Advaita Shaivism and Shakti – the fountainhead of Indian Hindu Sanskriti and heritage. She would visit Amarnath and a Shakti peeth in Kashmir with deep devotion.


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will also have to answer the nation for this talibanisation in Jammu & Kashmir under his watch. On a recent visit to Saudi Arabia, First Lady Gursharan Kaur, the Prime Minister’s wife, insisted on wearing her usual dress of sari and half-sleeve blouse. Will she stand up this time too?


Will the Prime Minister, for he had said:

Deh shiva var mohe hai shubh karman te kabhun na daroon

na daroon ersoh jab chahe laroon, nishche kar apni jeet karoon

[O Siva, grant me the boon that I will never fear to do the right action

That I will not fear, will fight when I want, and with determination will be victorious]

-          Guru Gobind Singh


Or do Indians have to look for Guru Teg Bahadur, Guru Gobind Singh, and Shivaji Maharaj.


The author is convener, Daughters of Vitasta

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