Jammu, May 19 (IANS) Hindu groups Saturday threatened to start the Amarnath Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir from June 3, defying the June 25 date announced by the organisers.
The Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) has said it will organise the pilgrimage from June 25 to Aug 2, a total of 39 days.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal want the pilgrimage to last 60 days starting June 3.
A VHP spokesman told reporters Saturday: ‘Come what may, we will start the yatra from June 3.’
SASB said the schedule of the pilgrimage was worked out after considering weather, terrain and other aspects.
It also pointed out that a growing number of pilgrims were losing their lives each year en route to the cave dedicated to Hindu god Shiva and located at 13,500 feet above sea level.
The route leading to it is highly treacherous and receives heavy snowfall.
Shiv Sena state unit chief Ashok Gupta said: ‘If 117 pilgrims died last year, it was the failure of the board and the government.’
The board says it is working overtime to ensure the pilgrimage begins on time. But it is facing problems due to inclement weather in the south Kashmir region.
More than 630,000 pilgrims visited the shrine last year, breaking all records. This year 150,000 pilgrims have registered themselves since May 7 when the registration opened, according to SASB sources.