Amarnath cave shrine not a silent zone, NGT clarifies

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After the protests over its decision, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) made clear on Thursday that it has not declared a “zone of silence” in the shrine of the Amarnath cave in the southern Himalayas of Kashmir.

A court headed by the president of the NGT, Judge Swatanter Kumar, said that due silence should be maintained only in front of the ice stalagmite that resembles the ‘Shivalinga’.

A detailed order is still awaited.

The NGT on December 13 declared the cave sanctuary a “zone of silence” and banned religious offerings beyond the point of entry.

He had previously said that declaring the area around the Amarnath cave sanctuary as a “zone of silence” would be useful in preventing avalanches and maintaining its pristine nature.

The shrine of the Amarnath cave is considered one of the main shrines sacred by the Hindus. The cave itself is covered in snow most of the year, except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims.

The clarification of the NGT on Thursday followed the protests of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a far-right Hindu group, which had qualified its previous order of “Tughlaki fatwa” (capricious whip). He had said that the Hindus were not responsible for all the ecological problems on earth.

However, the environmental activist Gauri Maulekhi, for whose request the instructions were approved, welcomed the order and described it as “good and progressive”.

“The Amarnath cave is in a delicate ecosystem, the instructions would make the Amarnath Yatra safe and convenient for the devotees, this would protect the sanctuary from degradation and guarantee its protection for generations to come. good and progressive, “Ms. Maulekhi told PTI on Wednesday.