Land should be given to Amarnath Shrine Board: Ramdev

August 14th, 2008 - 9:38 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Amarnath Shrine

New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) Yoga Guru Ramdev Thursday called for an end to the row over transfer of land to the Amarnath Shrine Board that has claimed at least 40 lives, but maintained that the Jammu and Kashmir government should allot the land to the temple trust. “The Amarnath Shrine Board must be allotted land to erect temporary structures for pilgrims. This is our country and the land belongs to us. Why should we be scared to acquire it from the Jammu and Kashmir government?” Ramdev told a packed a media conference here.

“It is a shame that the government cannot allot its own land to the temple and its own people,” the spiritual leader and Vedic healer said on his return from the US, where he had been for the past one-and-half months. Ramdev has been campaigning for transfer of land to the shrine board.

He said the remarks by a section of people that India was trying to create an Israel-like situation in Kashmir and comparing the state to Palestine, were a threat to the country’s communal mosaic.

The Amarnath Yatra is an important annual pilgrimage for Hindus across the world.

Land was allotted to the Amarnath Shrine Board, which manages the temple, to build temporary shelters for pilgrims. But the order had to be revoked following violent protests in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley, triggering a backlash in Jammu, which has a dominant Hindu population.

The guru also linked the issue of the “resettlement” of the Kashmiri Hindu oustees, who were forced to leave the state when insurgency in the state peaked during the 1990s, to his Amarnath crusade.

He said the displaced Kashmiri Hindu Pandit community should be re-settled in Kashmir.

“Along with the land for the Amarnath Shrine Board, land should also be earmarked for the displaced Hindu Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley so that they can have a homeland. Their security can be handed over to the Indian Army,” Ramdev said.

Speaking about his mission in the US, Ramdev said his yoga foundation, the Patanjali Yog Peeth, was building a sprawling Vedic yoga and traditional Indian therapy centre on 94 acres of land in Houston, Texas.

“For the first time, the Patanjali Yog Peeth is also setting up limited liability companies attached to the facilities abroad to patent and trademark its ayurvedic products so that they are not hijacked by foreigners,” the guru told IANS.

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