JAMMU: Irked by the State Government’s outright refusal to construct Amarnath Highway in Kashmir exposing its cowardly surrender before Kashmir hardliners, a battalion of Panther activists spearheaded by Harsh Dev Singh Chairman JKNPP and Yashpal Kundal State President Young Panthers along with several leaders staged an aggressive protest at Exhibition Ground, here.

The infuriated protestors raised anti-government and anti-BJP slogans for rejecting the pious road project to appease the separatists in the Valley.

Accusing the BJP-PDP government for its contemptuous disregard for the sentiments of Hindus, Harsh said that earlier it reduced the period of Amarnath Yatra from 60 to 40 days only to be followed by its outright rejection of the proposed 105 Kms long National Highway to Amarnath Shrine approved by Government of India along with seven other National Highways for the State.

He said that an RTI filed by him had revealed that the Government of India had sanctioned eight new Highways last year to the State of J and K with the assurance of 100 per cent funding for all the projects. He said that out of these projects Highway No. 501 was announced by the GoI along the holy cave of Amarnath Shrine measuring 105 Kms in length linking Baltal-Panchtarni-Chandanwari-Pahalgam-Batakut-Martand-Khanabal in Kashmir. Astounded by the absurd and ridiculous reply of the department to point No. 10 of his RTI application, he revealed that the State PWD expressed environmental reasons for disapproving the construction of the said road and refused to convey NoC to MoRTH for declaring it as National Highway.

He further divulged that the highly sacrilegious reply read that if the said track was developed as National Highway, “it would only devastate the scenic beauty of Pahalgam in Kashmir”.

Launching a scathing attack on the dispensation for towing the secessionist agenda of Geelani and the likes in the State, he pulled the State Government that if it considered the construction of the said road affecting the ecology of the Valley then it should also withhold the construction of other road projects in Kashmir considering similar topography, terrain and climate conditions.

He said that the government’s reply once again established the fact that it deplorably succumbed before the secessionists and subversives who were hell bent to impede the development of the pious shrine for their sectarian interests which allured lakhs of Hindu pilgrims from all across the country.

Admonishing the sinister alliance and BJP in particular for maintaining criminal silence over the issue, Harsh recalled that the Saffron party which once claimed itself as ‘champion’ of Hindus during Amarnath Land Row in 2008 had now bartered away the faith of the entire Hindu fraternity for the crumbs of power by remaining tightlipped over the refusal of the holy Highway.

He said that during the agitation in the back drop of the State Government repealing the transfer of 100 Acres land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) to set up temporary accommodation for Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir, the BJP vehemently rabble-roused to take the political mileage from the mass movement led by Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti and won 11 Assembly seats from Jammu Pradesh at the cost of several lives and thousands who were injured. He reminded the BJP of its strong reaction and disapproval of the then PDP’s rationale of environment hazards posed in constructing temporary shelters.

He said that entire Jammu region witnessed complete shut down for over two months and lakhs of people including children, women and old courted arrest to showcase their spiritual allegiance to the holy cave.

“The abominable surrenders of the BJP before the dictates of the PDP had brought disgrace to the aspirations of the people of Jammu region. The Saffron party shall be penanced severely by the people for its treachery who otherwise had heavily mandated them to power with 25 MLAs”, Harsh maintained.

Yashpal Kundal vowed that Panthers Party shall not relent unless the State Government honoured the construction of the aforesaid Highway and warned the BJP-PDP combine of a colossal agitation more truculent and aggressive than the Amarnath Ji land row in case it sacrificed the revered road project for political interests.

Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion included Rajesh Padgotra, Sham Gorkha, Gagan Pratap, Purshotam Parihar, Raj Kumar Gupta, Nirmal Kishore, Shankar Singh Sanju, Naresh Singh, Udheyveer, Capt. Narotam Singh (retd), Mohan Singh, Vishav Singh, Sansar Chand, Zorawar Singh, Narender Sharma and Rakesh Verma.