Over 13,800 pilgrims pay obeisance at holy cave on 3rd day of yatra

Shri Amarnath Ji bound yatris leaving Jammu for Nunwan base camp on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Rakesh
Shri Amarnath Ji bound yatris leaving Jammu for Nunwan base camp on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Sadhus allege inadequate facilities, harassment

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, July 3: Over 13,800 pilgrims paid obeisance at holy cave of Shri Amarnathji on the third day of darshan today from twin tracks of Baltal and Chandanwari today.
According to an official spokesman, 13,835 pilgrims drawn from different parts of the country paid obeisance at holy cave on the third day of darshan today. He said during the last three days 33,694 yatris paid obeisance of naturally formed ice lingam in holy cave.
The spokesman said that yatra is proceeding normally from both the tracks and the rush of pilgrims is increasing day by day.
He said four pilgrims who developed some problems enroute to holy cave were evacuated by air on the directives of Governor, Satya Pal Malik. One yatri namely , Pawan Kumar Gupta, resident of Fatehpur , UP was airlifted from Panjtarni and referred to Hospital at Pahalgam for treatment while three others namely Prabhu Kumar, resident of Ludhiana, Punjab, Balwinder Singh of Chandigarh and Diksha Arora of Moga were airlifted from Sheshnag after they developed some complications.
He said elaborate arrangements have been made for the pilgrims and authorities including Shrine Board are taking extra care for their safety and shelter.
Meanwhile another batch of 4,694 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas for twin base camps of Nunwan-Phalgam in South Kashmir district of Anantnag and Baltal, Sonamarg in Central Kashmir district of Ganderbal under tight security arrangements in 201 vehicle early this morning. All these pilgrims have reported at their respective base camps by this evening where from they will leave for holy cave early tomorrow morning.
Spokesman said 3,423 pilgrims crossed Lakhanpur the Gate Way of J&K towards Jammu in 150 vehicle during last 24 hours to leave for holy cave. There is heavy rush of pilgrims in Jammu and over 2000 are alone camping at Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas for night haltage where from they will leave for holy cave tomorrow morning. The yatris are in a jubilant mood and some of the pilgrims are coming regularly for darshan for last over two decades.
Long queues of pilgrims are seen outside the registration counters at Saraswati Dham, Vaishnavi Dham and Mahajan Sabha.
However the Sadhus waiting for their registration at Geeta Bhawan here have criticised the authorities for lack of arrangements at their registration counter. They, while talking to this reporter said that the Sadhus including the female Sanyasis are being harassed by the officials as well as the other workers at Geeta Bhawan. Alleging inadequate facilities they said that registration should not be privatised.
An agitated Sadhu, while taking a dig the officials at registration counter to task said that it is a Government run yatra and Sadhus are being harassed unnecessarily. There are no facilities of water for bathing and other arrangements are also not in place. A Sadhu from Punjab said that he reached here on June 27 and since then he tried for his registration but every time he is thrown out of the queue for unknown reasons.
Those Sadhus who manage to grease the palms of those who are at helm of affairs are being given the registration slips and others are harassed., he said, adding that he has been coming for darshan regularly since 1984 to holy cave.
Only 40 to 50 registrations are made daily and that too on preference basis while others are ignored, he said, adding women Sadhus too are not spared and are being harassed which will not be tolerated at any cost. He also alleged that there is lack of transport facility for Sadhus and we are asked to wait in scorching heat for the whole day. The arrangements for the buses are also not proper, he added.