Jammu: Another batch of around 2,000 pilgrims for the Amarnath Yatra left from here on Saturday for the Himalayan cave shrine in the Kashmir Valley.
“The third batch of 1,849 pilgrims, including 406 women and 25 children, left Jammu in buses, taxis and private vehicles in a convoy for the Shri Amarnathji Yatra today (Saturday),” a senior police official told a media outlet.
The official said the convoy of pilgrims started from the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in the city at 5 a.m.
So far, more than 16,000 pilgrims have had ‘darshan’ at the Amarnath cave shrine situated 14,500 feet above the sea level in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that waxes and wanes with the phases of the Moon.
Devotees believe the stalagmite structure symbolizes mythical powers of Lord Shiva and call it the ‘Holy Lingam’.
The two-month long Yatra will end on August 29 coinciding with Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan festivals.
Pilgrims use both the 36-km long traditional Pahalgam route and the 14-km long north Kashmir Baltal route to reach the cave shrine. (IANS)
The political parties (BJP and Congress ) are promising a free trip to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage in the coming local elections of the eastern states of India
The Christian population in Meghalaya and Nagaland is almost 75 percent and 88 percent respectively
After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner by 2022
The Campaign promises during the elections times are quite bizarre nowadays, from “I’ll cut your taxes,” to “vote for me, and I’ll set you free.”
In the coming local elections in the Christian- majority state of Nagaland in India the agenda by the rival BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and Congress parties are unique: “Vote for us and get either a free or a heavily subsidized pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”
Yes, you read it right. The political parties are promising a free trip to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage. The offer has been put up by the Prime Minister Modi- led BJP for the upcoming elections. Even the local partners of the Congress party are treading up the same path.
The BJP has not made it clear yet if it is offering the scheme to all of India’s Christians, or only to Christians in the northeast, or only to Christians in Nagaland. The Christian population in Meghalaya and Nagaland is almost 75 percent and 88 percent respectively. Nagaland is one of smallest states of India, with the population of just under two million people.
As per the Tourism Ministry figures, around 58,000 Indian tourists came to Israel in 2017, a 47% increase from 2015.
The elections are scheduled for the February 27 in three northeastern states – Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura – later this month.
The AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi also tweeted on the double standard of the government and lashed out at the government for its discriminatory decision, ending Haj subsidy but allowing subsidies to continue for Hindu pilgrimages like the Mansarovar Yatra.
‘Jerusalem calling’ in Nagaland https://t.co/yR0rEmlhi3 via @the_hindu BJP promise to send Christians on a free trip,I was right BJP continues with Subsidy if it suits its electoral needs this is “ INDIA first”
This would not be the first time that India has bankrolled pilgrimages for the Christians. Before this, the government had subsidized the Haj pilgrimage for the Muslim community. But recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. The government cited the reason for the subsidy withdrawal as they wanted to utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls. After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner by 2022.
The scheme is a clear cut example of hypocrisy and opportunism, especially considering the cancellation of Haj subsidies. It seems quite contrary, on the one hand, the government is cutting down the benefit scheme for one section of the society and on the other hand, some other community is been offered the same thing. Such moves bring out the double standards of the political parties just for the sake of vote bank. In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented.
In 2011, Nigeria also did something same as that of India. For many years, their government financed a trip to Mecca for Muslims, leading to some 42,000 Nigerians visiting the country. But with the change in the government, subsidies have been cut considerably and now a 12-day pilgrimage costs around 2000 dollars. The change in stance has resulted in 78% decrease from 2011.