Saturday, November 18, 2006


Can someone from this august body of thinkers and intelligentsia list how many and which policy decisions in the name of 'secularism' have been made and implemented by the Congress-led UPA Govt. at the Center and by the puppet Congress govt.s in various States which are not discriminatory against and detrimental to the interests of 80+% Hindu citizens of the country? Why do the Hindus continue to suffer such regular assaults on their basic rights as citizens and on their human dignity at the hands of the President, the Prime Minister, their own State CM's and the Congress Party? In any other democratic country worth its name, these rascals would have long ago been hooted (or even booted) out of power by the revolting electorate. What is the price Hindus are willing to pay for sham secularism? It is indeed very deplorable that the bombshell interview given by Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Lt Gen SK Sinha to Indian Express on 22 Jun 2006 did not raise the hackles of fair minded Indian intelligentsia! It is very apparent that Mufti Mohammed Syed as the former Chief Minister of the Government of Jammu & Kashmir, backed by an Islam-embracing and Hindu-hating Congress party, was not only most unenthusiastic about Amarnath pilgrimage which is one of the most sacred places of worship for the Hindus all over the world, but also deliberately installed every possible hurdle in the conduct of the yatra. This is an affront to the dignity of Hindus as a whole. It is a calculated assault on Hindu culture, Hindu society, Hindu civilization and Sanatana Dharma. This very serious matter of vicious violation of Human Rights has been inexplicably ignored by the media, the Central government and Human rights activists! We have to only contrast this with the unbridled enthusiasm exhibited by the Central government for Haj pilgrimage.
The pseudo-secularists belonging to the PDP party of Mufti Mohammed Syed and the Congress party and several other political outfits in Jammu and Kashmir have been very vociferous in their criticism of Lt Gen Sinha for having displayed outstanding leadership qualities of courage, fidelity and vigilance in dealing with the sensitive issues relating to the Amarnath pilgrimage during last three years. He is the chairman of the Amarnath Shrine Board, not of his own volition, but on account of an Act passed by the Jammu and Kashmir State Legislature in 2001 which made the Governor, the Chairman of that body. Soon after his appointment when he started doing his work earnestly without fear or favour, he incurred the displeasure of the Mufti Mohammed Syed government. The then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Syed, for whom Buta Singh as Governor was an exemplary role model, wanted Lt Gen Sinha to function as an 'yes man' without any mind or will of his own. Lt Gen Sinha, one of the most outstanding officers of the Indian Army after independence, did not oblige him!
Recently I was reading an excellent research article written by my friend Brigadier VRP Sarathy, VSM (Retd). Most of what I have to say in this article is based upon the incisive analysis given by him in that article. The following solid facts relating to the negative and anti-Hindu attitude of the Jammu and Kashmir government at that time emerge from the interview given by Lt Gen Sinha.
1) To quote the words of Lt Gen Sinha '2003-04 were years of controversy. We were not even allowed to put up pre-fab structures in yatra areas. It was only after the Centre's intervention and the resignation (threat) of the four Ministers that the yatra could be held! I sent two letters to Chief Minister (Mufti Sayeed) in November 2003 and February 2004, urging him to let the yatra go on normally. The letters were not even acknowledged.
These charges by an upright Governor of General Sinha's established stature, clearly point the fact of deliberate sabotage of the yatra buy an unhelpful government headed by Mufti Mohammed Syed. I cannot help drawing the inference that Mufti Mohammed Syed's contempt extended not only to Lt Gen Sinha but also to the Indian President and the Indian Constitution.
(2) The State government came out with a revolutionary solution for pollution control by proposing the construction of an insufficient number of unhygienic deep trench latrines for lakhs of pilgrims! Instead of dealing with this problem as a local environmental issue, the State Pollution Control Board expressed concerns over the impact on the fragile environment of Pahalgam and Sonamarg, and strangely enough suggested restriction in the number of pilgrims, instead of finding appropriate solutions to the problems of community and social hygiene with focus on the protection of the environment!
(3) In 2004, when Governor wanted to set up pre-fab structures the State government did not allow building them on the flimsy ground that the land did not belong to Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB). This was indeed an invalid excuse since the deep trench latrines too were established on the State land and pre-fab latrines were only a replacement on the same land with latest technology! It was only after the change of Government in Jammu and Kashmir with the induction of Gulam Nabi Azad as Chief Minister, that the State Pollution Control Board gave permission and accordingly 1,500 toilets have been built, one in every two kilometers, on the treks.
(4) In 2005, Lt Gen Sinha's decision to increase Amarnath yatra's duration to two months to meet the increased influx of pilgrims was vehemently opposed by the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Syed on 'security grounds!' contradicting his own claims elsewhere of vastly improved security for increased tourism to fetch revenue for his none-too benevolent administration. Despite security agencies including Army and his own State security confirming that security for two months was not a problem, the then Chief Minsiter was adamant and his decision had to be overturned by the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir which granted permission for extending the duration of Amarnath yatra to two months.
(5) Access to or use of government buildings and shamefully, even the pre-fab latrines, en-route Amarnath Shrine was denied by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir to all the Hindu kafirs. This was again set right by a judicial decision given by the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir.
(6) Governor's suggestion on starting pilgrimage (in 2005) before 6 July was again opposed by the Chief Minister! At every step the Amarnath yatra was obstructed deliberately by an unsympathetic government and anti-Hindu Chief Minister.
(7) The UPA Government reportedly imposed 10.2 per cent service tax on Kailash Manasarover pilgrims!
Let me now compare the acts of gracelessness of Jammu and Kashmir government in regard to Amarnath yatra with the hypersensitivity symbolized by acts of grace shown by governments, both at the Centre and in the States, to devout Muslims going on Haj pilgrimage.
(a) UPA Government has increased the number of Haj pilgrims from 72,000 to 1, 47,000 and is enhancing it by a further 10,000 after talks recently held by Minister of State for external affairs E Ahmed with Saudi Haj minister Fouad Al-Farsy!
(b) Air travel for Haj was always subsidized by 62.5 per cent, (with pilgrim paying only Rs. 12,000 out of about Rs 32,000) costing the exchequer about Rs 240 Crores annually.
(c) NDA government's ruling about admissibility of subsidy only once per person in his life time and disallowing the concession to Income Tax payers were reversed by the UPA government!
(d) Out of 82,000 Haj pilgrims (earlier) 56,000 were to be flown only on Saudi Airlines, a huge drain of foreign exchange to a foreign company! It is not clear as to what mandatory number is to be flown by Saudi Airlines now, with huge increased drain of foreign exchange, as the original number of pilgrims has increased considerably! Unfortunately, no one in Indian politics will dare dispute the fact that this grace shown towards Saudi Airlines is non-communal, secular, cosmopolitan, global and of course patriotic, at any rate totally non-communal, secular and non-saffronized!
The issues raised by Governor Sinha relating to the Amarnath pilgrimage are far too serious and affect the religious sensibilities of the minority Hindu community in Jammu and Kashmir which is the only Muslim majority State in India! If expenditure for all Haj activities of Muslims in majority can be borne by this State, then Mufti's refusal to give his concurrence for increasing the Amarnath pilgrim strength, refusal of State land and other impediments caused for the Amarnath yatra are all deliberate attempts at the sabotage of the yatra for which Mufti and his government should be held responsible. It is a blatant act of religious discrimination against the Hindus of India as a whole.
May I appeal to the President of India to take up the matter by joining hands with the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir to protect the historic and time-defying rights of Hindu pilgrims going to Amarnath for their annual pilgrimage without any let or hindrance by the small and petty men in the Jammu and Kashmir government? After all it is a pilgrimage within our own country unlike Haj pilgrimage involving huge government expenditure year after year to an alien country for all the non-Muslims of India in absolute majority.
We can vaccinate ourselves against small pox but there is no vaccination against 'small minds'! It is not, therefore, surprising that Mufti Mohammed Syed used the brief authority of his transient office to put all kinds of obstacles on the path of smooth conduct of the Amarnath yatra.


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