Srinagar, Oct 20: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Saturday challenged separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani to take a helicopter ride to confirm whether a concrete road was being laid in north Kashmir’s Baltal area to the Amarnath cave shrine.
Geelani had said the laying of a metalled road in the area would threaten the ecological balance. He had also alleged that the state government had not even engaged a lawyer to defend its case in the apex court.
Speaking at a public meeting in Bulbul Lankar area of Srinagar Saturday, Abdullah said certain forces inimical to peace are spreading rumours to stir up emotions in Kashmir.
Challenging the veracity of Geelani’s statement made here yesterday that a macadamized road was being laid in Baltal, Abdullah said, “I will keep two helicopters of the state at your disposal. You should take a photographer of your choice with you to carry out an aerial inspection of Pahalgam and Baltal routes.”
“After that please tell us whether even a metre of macadamized road is being constructed there,” Abdullah said.
About Geelani’s statement that the state government had not even engaged a lawyer to plead its case in the Supreme Court which has taken suo moto cognisance of pilgrim deaths during this year’s Amarnath yatra, Abdullah said: “We have produced a 200-page document in the Supreme Court which you (Geelani) must study.”
Geelani had Friday threatened a massive agitation against the alleged construction of a metalled road in the north Kashmir forests to facilitate the passage of pilgrims during the annual Amarnath yatra.