Under attack from Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and sections of the Indian media, the National Green Tribunal Thursday “clarified” it has not declared a “silence zone” at the Amarnath cave in Kashmir.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said that due silence has to be maintained only in front of the ice stalagmite resembling the ‘ShivaLinga’, news agency PTI reported.
A detailed order is still awaited.
The green tribunal had yesterday declared the cave shrine as a “silence zone”, barring chanting of mantras and ringing of bells, and prohibited religious offerings beyond the entry point in response to a petition on preserving the fragile ecosystem of the area.
It had said that declaring the area around the Amarnath cave shrine a “silence zone” would be helpful in preventing avalanches and maintaining its pristine nature.
NGT’s clarification today followed protests by the VHP, with the outfit’s chief Praveen Togadia , terming its earlier order as a “Tughlaki fatwa” and saying that Hindus were not responsible for every ecological problem on the earth.
Sections of the Indian media also ran “campaigns” with hashtags like “Amarnathyatrismuted” denouncing the NGT order.
However, environment activist Gauri Maulekhi, on whose plea the directions were passed, had welcomed the order and termed it “good and progressive”.
“The Amarnath cave is located in a delicate ecosystem. The directions would make the Amarnath Yatra safe and convenient for the devotees. This would protect the shrine from degradation and ensure it is protected for the coming generations. It is indeed a very good and progressive direction,” Maulekhi had told PTI yesterday.