An organisation representing displaced Kashmiri Pandits has slammed the recently announced dates for the annual Amarnath pilgrimage saying that the schedule this year has "once again hurt religious sentiments".
President of Panun Kashmir, Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo said the group was disappointed that instead of the traditional kick-off on Jyestha Purnima, the pilgrimage this year too had been curtailed by a week by the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board
(SASB). The yatra had had a delayed start last year as well.
"There seems no logic in the curtailment. Rather, it seems that the board has again succumbed to pressure from separatist forces who have always opposed the Amarnath Yatra on one pretext or the other," Chrungoo said.
Chrungoo added that neither were the conditions set by SASB regarding the minimum and maximum age for devotees acceptable to the group.
It was decided last Thursday that the 55-day pilgrimage to Amarnath, the Himalayan cave shrine of Lord Shiva in south Kashmir, will begin on June 28 this year and conclude on Raksha Bandhan on August 21, SASB CEO Navin Choudhary said.
The board has directed the CEO to arrange a special ceremony to mark Jyestha Purnima on June 23.
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