Three Muslims appointed to Amarnath panel, samiti objects
Posted by jagoindia on June 23, 2009
Samiti objects to three Muslims on Amarnath panel
Ishfaq-ul-Hassan / DNA Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra has appointed three Muslims to the 13-member Shri Amarnath Yatra Advisory Committee for a smooth conduction of the yatra. But the committee is yet to meet, as the Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti (SASS) has objected to inclusion of Muslims in the committee.
The samiti, which spearheaded the agitation for restoration of 39.88 hectares of forestland to the board last year, called the move “undesirable and unnecessary”. “The SASB Act clearly states that if a governor is non-Hindu, he has to nominate a Hindu to head the board. Taking it as a premise, how can a non-Hindu be part of Hindu religious body? Similarly no non-Muslim should be part of Muslim body,” said samiti convener Brig (retd) Suchet Singh.
This is the first time that the governor, who is also the board chairman, has nominated Muslims to the committee ever since the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) Act was passed.
The three Muslims are namely Lateef Ahmad Bhat, Mohammed Jabbar Malik and Dr Mubeen Shah.
Lateef Ahmad Bhat heads the Kashmir Hotel and Restaurants Owners Federation while Dr Mubeen Shah is the chairman of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI). Mohammed Jabbar Malik represents the family of Buta Malik, a Muslim shepherd from Pahalgam credited with discovering the cave shrine in the mountains in 1850. Buta and his family were the shrine’s custodian till 2000 when the National Conference government formed the shrine board.
“We are looking forward to put across our views for conduct of the yatra. There have been no meetings of the committee so far,” said Dr Mubeen Shah, a member of the coordination committee that spearheaded the struggle against the economic blockade of Kashmir by radical elements in Jammu.
“There has been no meeting of the committee so far. We have heard that some people have raised objections in Jammu over our inclusion in the committee,” said Lateef.
The board’s additional CEO, Madan Mantoo, said the advisory committee members have met the divisional commissioner though there has been no formal meeting with the Board.