New curbs on Amarnath temple do not make it a silent zone or restrict rituals, NGT clarifies
The court said pilgrims should not be allowed to carry their mobile phones and other belongings to the Vaishno Devi temple in South Kashmir.
The National Green Tribunal on Thursday issued a clarification about its new rules restricting the chanting of mantras or the ringing of bells inside the Amarnath cave, ANI reported. The temple has not been declared a “silent zone” and the new rules do not impose any restrictions during the aarti and other rituals, a statement by the tribunal said.
The clarification come after criticism from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which described the new rules as “Tughlaki fatwa” while taking a jibe at the court by stating that Hindus were not responsible for every ecological problem on earth, News18 reported.
The restriction only applies to the space near the Shivling, the tribunal said. “One way queue will be maintained,” the statement said.
On Wednesday, the tribunal had directed the Amarnath Shrine Board to ensure that no “mantras” or “jaykaras” are chanted at the temple. The court also directed the board to ensure that people walk in one queue from the last checkpost to the Amarnath cave.
Earlier, the National Green Tribunal had asked the board to consider declaring the area around the Vaishno Devi shrine a silence zone to prevent avalanches and limit the number of offerings pilgrims were allowed to take to the temple, according to Outlook.
The tribunal had also told the Shrine Board that pilgrims should not be allowed to carry their mobile phones and other belongings beyond the last checkpost. It suggested opening a room for people to store their belongings.
These orders from the National Green Tribunal come about a month after it questioned why the Amarnath Shrine Board had not provided toilets and other amenities for the thousands of pilgrims who travel to the cave in South Kashmir every year. It had criticised the board for giving more priority to commercial activities and allowing shops to come up along the path near the shrine.
In November, the National Green Tribunal had also capped the number of devotees who can visit the Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir at 50,000 per day. It had ordered a stop to all construction activities at the temple, as well.