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news details
Provision made for e-darshan of rituals at Amarnath shrine: JK admin tells HC
7/16/2020 12:14:48 AM

Early Times Report

Srinagar, July 15: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has informed the High Court that it has ensured e-darshan of religious rituals at the 3,880 metre-high holy cave shrine of Amarnath in the south Kashmir Himalayas.
In its 23-page order, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal quoted the status report of the union territory''s administration in which the introduction of ‘e-darshan’ to facilitate the devotees was discussed at length.
The Jammu and Kashmir high court had adopted a ‘court in its own motion’ petition to review the difficulties faced by the public in making the annual high-altitude pilgrimage largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic and had appointed advocate Monika Kohli as amicus curiae (lawyer assisting the court) in the matter.
The yatra was scheduled to commence from the twin tracks of Pahalgam in Anantnag and Baltal in Ganderbal districts of the Kashmir valley on June 23 but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Certain significant steps taken by the authorities to ensure performance of all rituals and enabling ‘darshans’ (glimpses) and participation of the devotees, though virtually, stand taken," the court said, quoting the response of the Jammu and Kashmir administration.
It said the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), which manages the annual yatra, has made adequate arrangements for carrying out the regular religious rituals at the shrine and provisions have been made to ensure that supplies reach the priests."Their security has also been provided for," the report read.
To tackle the situation and to facilitate the ''darshan'' for the pilgrims this year, it said the government has started a live telecast of the ''Baba Amarnathji Aarti'' on Doordarshan National and live streaming on Youtube due to the pandemic, so that the devotees can have ''darshan'' of Lord Shiva without having to personally undertake the yatra.
"The telecast has provided solace to the yearning of the faith of the devotees, who are not getting to quench this desire to have darshan of Bhole Baba, by streaming on the internet and the TV," it said.
However, the administration admitted that any diversion of resources to the yatra would adversely affect the medical work in COVID-affected areas.
"That it is needless to submit, that for the healthcare as well for meeting the challenge posed by COVID-19 the answering respondents are utilizing the health care facilities, the limited infrastructure as well as health care professionals including the doctors, paramedics etc," it said.
"But any diversion of resources to the yatra will adversely affect the medical work in COVID affected areas," the administration said.
Referring to the petitioner Sachin Sharma, a lawyer, the court said it was informed that various pilgrimages in different parts of the country including Kaweriya Mela, Kinar Kailash yatra and Lal Baghcha Maha Utsav have been suspended on account of the pandemic.
The Jagannath Puri Yatra, which is held once in 12 years, was curtailed and held under curfew in the city, Sharma said, seeking cancellation of the yatra.
Referring to the closure of various temples, other religious places and spiritual centres, the petitioner said even the most revered shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi at Katra in Reasi district is not open to the pilgrims.
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