The Hush Post: In yet another controversy- laden decision hurting the sentiments of the Indian masses, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) prohibited loud chanting of mantras and ‘jayakaras’ and ringing of bells in the demarcated “silence zone” near the ice shiv lingam and also stopped religious offerings beyond the entry point. On a positive note, the Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the Amarnath Shrine Board to ensure proper infrastructural facilities so that the pilgrims can have a clear darshan. It suggested replacing the iron rods installed inside the Amarnath cave with security personnel so that pilgrims can get a better view of the shrine.
“Nobody would be permitted to carry anything from the stairs leading to the holy cave and everybody should be properly frisked at the entry point. From the point of stairs and the area inside the cave should be declared silence zone,” the Bench said.
It also restrained carriage of personal belongings including mobile phones beyond the last checkpoint and asked the shrine board to construct a place where pilgrims can keep their valuables.
The green panel also directed the committee of experts headed by an additional secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to submit an action plan on providing facilities to the pilgrims within three weeks. The green panel took exception to non-compliance with the directions issued by the Supreme Court in 2012 and asked the board what steps it had taken in all these years.
Environment activist Gauri Maulekhi, on whose plea the directions were passed, welcomed the NGT order and termed it “progressive”. The matter will be heard again on January 18 next year.