Advani promises national board for pilgrimage centres

October 1st, 2008 - 8:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyMumbai, Oct 1 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Wednesday promised to set up a national board to provide better facilities and ensure safety at all religious places if his party was voted to power in general elections.Making a reference to the temple stampede in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur town Tuesday that killed 149 people, Advani told a public rally at Washim town in Maharashtra that the issue of pilgrims’ facilities had not got adequate attention until now.

He said that three years ago more than 300 pilgrims died in a stampede at a temple in Satara in Maharashtra and 145 people died similarly this year at the Naina Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh.

“One of the main reasons for these tragedies is that we have not addressed the need for adequate and reliable infrastructure, facilities and safety provisions at the places of pilgrimage in our country,” he said.

Therefore, he said, if the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to power, the government would set up a National Board to improve facilities at all important pilgrimage centres.

Advani linked the issue to the Amarnath land row in Jammu and Kashmir that left more than 50 people dead in July-August.

He said the country “should be thankful to the people of Jammu for fighting a long and determined battle for a legitimate cause”.

The reference was to mass protests that gripped the overwhelmingly Hindu region of Jammu after Muslims in the Kashmir Valley forced the state government to cancel the award of land to the Amarnath shrine board to provide facilities to its Hindu pilgrims.

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