The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday (13 December 2017) banned the chanting of mantras at Amarnath temple and issued a slew of orders to be implemented by the Amarnath Shrine Board. The directions come after the green court rapped the Amarnath Shrine Board last month for failing to provide adequate infrastructure facilities to pilgrims and asked it to submit a status report on the same in the first week of December.
On Wednesday, an NGT bench headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said there should be no ringing of bells in the cave temple, situated at an altitude of 3,888 metres in J&K, and pilgrims would have to deposit all mobiles and belongings at the last check post. The tribunal asked the shrine authorities to consider buiding a separate room where people could keep their belongings.
The NGT had recently pulled up the Amarnath Shrine Board and asked them what they have done to provide infrastructure facilities to pilgrims travelling to the cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas.
“You have allowed shops on path near the shrine. There are no proper facilities for toilets. Do you even know how humiliating this is for women. Why have you not provided proper infrastructural facilities for pilgrims. You are giving priority to commercial activities over pilgrims. This is unfair. The sanctity of the shrine has to be maintained,” NGT had said in November.
Amarnath cave shrine is considered to be one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism. The cave itself is covered with snow most of the year except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims.