ibnlive » India

Jan 24, 2009 at 04:19pm IST

Amarnath board politics, no to Muslim members

Jammu: After three months of protests over the Amarnath land agitation in Jammu and Kashmir a new controversy is now rearing its ugly head.

Union Minister of Water Resources and senior Congress leader Saif-ud-din Soz has written a letter to J&K Governor NN Vohra asking him to include a member of the Malik family in the Amaranth Shrine board.

The Malik family had discovered the shrine in 1850 and was the joint custodian till the board was constituted in 2000. But the Amarnath Sanghrash Samiti is against any such move and has even threatened a fresh agitation.

“It is in the board that no Muslim should be appointed. Even if the Governor is a Muslim he has a nominate a chairman then. They want to dilute the board,” says Amarnath Yatra Sangrash Samiti Convenor, Leela Karan Sharma.

The Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti had constituted it's new board in January with names like Shri Shri Ravi Shankar, environmentalist Sunita Narian, sitar maestro Bhajan Sopori and writer Kapila Vatsayan. The Maliks, however, were left out.

“We have no objection if Malik is given compensation they have already been given some compensation,” says Leena Karan Sharma.

Meanwhile, the shrine board, which is yet to appoint four more members to the board is keeping quiet perhaps wary of another controversy.

The Amarnanth shrine has been a symbol of togetherness but it is an irony that the controversy over it somehow tends to divide the people of the state on religious and regional lines.