New Delhi, July 24: A day after the Supreme Court expressed shock over the deaths of more Amarnath pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) delegation Tuesday met Home Minister P. Chidambaram and sought the central government’s intervention in the issue.
The delegation asked Chidambaram to convey their concern to the Jammu and Kashmir government and Governor N.N. Vohra.
“We requested the government to ensure proper facilities for the pilgrims, including health care and shelters,” said BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, who was part of the delagation.
“We have asked the government to increase the duration of the yatra so more people can visit the shrine,” she said.
Sushma Swaraj said Chidambaram assured the delegation that he will speak to Vohra.
According to the BJP, one of the major factors behind such a high increase in mortality this year is that the yatra duration has been squeezed drastically from the usual 60 days to 39 days.
“But the number of pilgrims visiting the shrine has already gone up to 42,000 per day,” said Sushma Swaraj.
The BJP also said the situation becomes more complicated because of man-made “queuing system”, which makes yatris wait for over two to five days in high-altitude areas with heavy rains and extremely cold weather.
The annual pilgrimage is organised by the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), formed in 2001.
Besides Sushma Swaraj, the delegation comprised Arun Jaitley, Ananth Kumar and Shahnawaz Hussain.